Worley: Richland Men's Soccer team peaked at the right time to win national championship

For a fifth time in the past six years, the Richland College Men’s Soccer team can be called National Junior College Athletic Association Division III champions.

Richland‘s Nov. 11 championship and unprecedented accomplishment in Herkimer, N.Y., according to T-Duck coach Sean Worley, can be linked directly to his team peaking at the right time.

The boys played big time and came together at the right time, the 12-year T-Duck coach said. They played with heart and determination. They played hard from the first minute to the last minute of every game.

And every minute counted, too, as Richland faced arguably its toughest competition of the year.

Entering the tournament as the No. 4 seed, the T-Ducks opened play with a 1-0 semifinal victory over then undefeated and No. 1-seeded Union College before blanking Ulster County Community College, 1-0, in overtime to win the championship.

The games were very tight, very close, Worley said. They could have gone either way. But our experience, composure and tough schedule really prepared us to get that 1 percent edge. We did a great job.

Aside from the experience and calm demeanor in tight games, it also didn’t hurt the T-Ducks to have two of the most skillful players in the nation on their team in forward David Freeland of Midlandand midfielder Carlos Videla of Richland, whom came up huge in the national tournament.

Against Union College, Freeland, who entered the tournament as the T-Ducks leader in goals with 13 goals, scored the winning goal off a Tito Salas cross while Videla scored the winning goal in the championship game on a free kick in overtime.

For their play, Videla was named tournament MVP while Freeland, along with Hugo Ruelas and Luis Rocha, was named to the all-Tournament First Team.

We peaked at the right time, Worley reiterated. We had our ups and downs and our struggles. But, again, the boys came together. The sophomores also really helped the freshmen, and they played great during [the] district and national [tournaments].

The T-Ducks played so good that during both tournaments, their defense didn’t allow a goal.

Richland ended its championship season with a 16-4-2 record.

The boys make the program. This was a fun, exciting year and the guys did great, Worley said. When you look back on it [winning five championships in six years], in retrospect, it is [a great accomplishment] but it’s hard to look at it that way. I look at it from one year to one year. Next year, we will try to do the same thing again.