The Mercer County Community College men’s soccer team has advanced to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I National Tournament.
The NJCAA Tournament will be hosted by Yavapai College from Nov. 13 to 17 in Arizona. The Vikings enter the tournament as the sixth seed and are ranked seventh nationally.
After winning the Region 19 title Oct. 28, the men traveled to upstate New York Nov. 3 for the district round. On Saturday, the Vikings faced Massasoit Community College. Freshman Oshana Boothe scored in the 40th minute off an assist from Adir Versano and the half ended 1-0. Eleven minutes into the second half, freshman Eiichi Yamaguchi, assisted by Jonathan Ward, added another goal to make it 2-0, which was the final score. Erick Guimaraes Cavalcante was in goal for the Vikings.
The following day, Mercer faced Monroe (Bronx), which had won its Saturday game against tournament host Monroe (Rochester). With the game remaining scoreless well into the second half, Boothe finally found the net off an assist from Yamaguchi with just 11 minutes left and the Vikings won 1-0. Guimaraes Cavalcante got the win in goal for Mercer.
Since the Northeast District is receiving two bids to the National Championship this year, both teams advance, but Mercer earns the higher seed in the 12-team tournament.
The Vikings, who have won eight national titles in their history, have not been to the National Tournament since 2008. This is the first trip under Head Coach Widmarc Dalce.
Dalce is very pleased with his team’s accomplishments. “It’s a good feeling to have gotten this far and to be playing so well in the post-season. It’s what our players have been working for and what we have dreamed of all year,” he said.