by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC
The finest soccer season in Kansas City Kansas Community College history came to an end Tuesday in the NJCAA Division I national tournament in Prescott, Ariz.
No. 7 Monroe College out of New Rochelle, N.Y., sent the 11th-seeded Blue Devils to the tournament sidelines with a 5-1 win.
In the national tournament for the fourth time in the last seven years including two appearances in the national championship game, Monroe (13-1-2) will meet No. 2 Schoolcraft of Livonia, Mich. (16-0) Wednesday with the winner advancing to the semifinals.
Ranked No. 10 in the final NJCAA national rankings – the first time ever in the Top 20 – and in the national tournament for the first time ever, the Blue Devils finished with a 13-5-1 record.
Two goals in the first 14 minutes doomed the Blue Devils against Monroe. Carols Rodriguez beat KCKCC goalkeeper Youssef Gadelkerim to a loose ball and fed Lucas Nishioka for a point blank shot just 10:47 into the game and three minutes later Jorge Figueroa scored an unassisted goal from the top of the box.
The Mustangs widened their lead to 3-0 nine minutes into the second half on a goal by Javier Rodriguez on an assist from Gabriel Machado before KCKCC scored at the 69.51 mark, Piper freshman Jackson Jones passing to another frosh, Bruno Rovares, for the goal. Monroe then closed out the win on goals by Gabriel Machado and Cristian Valencia in the final seven minutes.
Monroe got off 26 shots against KCKCC including nine on goal; the Blue Devils attempted 16 shots, five on goal. The Mustangs also had a 9-5 edge in corner kicks.