UNIVERSITY CENTER, MI – Two goals in the final ten minutes halted a spirited effort by the Ancilla College men’s soccer team in a 4-1 loss to NJCAA #4 Schoolcraft in the Region 12 semifinals at Delta College in University Center, MI, on Saturday.
The Chargers (7-10-1) had been enjoying a resurgence in their play of late, fueled by a thrilling 3-2 overtime victory at Owens Community College in Wednesday’s quarterfinal round. A win over the rival Ocelots would have placed Ancilla in the Region 12 championship match for the first time in program history.
Schoolcraft (17-4-1) opened scoring in the 19th minute when midfielder Marco Lobo headed a rebound past Ancilla’s Alex Howe for a 1-0 advantage.
Just two minutes after halftime, Ancilla found an equalizer through leading scorer Cody Koesters. The freshman striker collected a cross from Anthony Acosta and sent his shot skipping off a Schoolcraft defender and past Ian McDonald-Wilkins to tie things up at 1-1.
Schoolcraft restored their lead on a quick counterattack in the 65th minute, scoring on a deflected shot of their own through Brent McIntosh for a 2-1 advantage.
Fatigue began to set in on the Chargers in the final 15 minutes, and Ancilla was forced to concede defeat when Nate Sergison scored in the 81st and 87th minutes for a 4-1 advantage.
Ancilla sophomores Augusto Tirabassi, Trevor Ballinger, Chris Spoor, Zach Furman, Luis Delgado, and Michael Lobbo all appeared in their final match for the Chargers. They, along with injured sophomores Yonas Araya and Adam Calhoun, are the first class in the program’s four year history to qualify for back-to-back appearances in the Region 12 playoffs.
“It took all season for us to find our stride and play to our potential, and these past two matches we finally did that,” said Ancilla coach James Drzewiecki. “It’s a shame it ended here, but I thought the guys gave Schoolcraft plenty of trouble. When you look at this game, it was two programs playing a very high level of soccer, and that’s what the postseason should be about. The Ancilla community should be very proud of our guys. They represented the College very well.”