DONALDSON – The Ancilla College men’s soccer team is headed to the NJCAA Region 12 tournament for the second consecutive year, league officials confirmed on Monday.
Currently ranked fifth in Region 12 with 19 points in the standings, the Chargers (6-8-1, 6-8-1 Region 12) are guaranteed, at worst, a sixth seed when the playoffs begin on Wednesday, October 27th.
This is the second time in the program’s four year history that the Chargers have qualified for the postseason. They made their first appearance one year ago, falling 2-0 to Cincinnati State Technical and Community College in the Region 12 semi-finals.
“It’s a great accomplishment for the guys to earn a spot,” said Ancilla men’s soccer coach James Drzewiecki. “It was tougher this year, for sure. Everyone in the region stepped their games up and we had to fight to earn our spot. All we needed to do was make the playoffs. Now it’s up to us how far we want to go.”
Just over a week ago, the Chargers were in serious jeopardy of missing out on the playoffs. They had lost four matches in a row and were sitting at 4-8-1 at the time.
Fortunes began to change with a 2-1 win over Cuyahoga Community College – a team that had won five of their previous six matches within the region – on October 10. Three days later, Ancilla claimed a comfortable 6-1 victory at Kellogg Community College.
Still, those results weren’t enough to mathematically clinch a spot in the postseason. The Chargers still needed help to guarantee qualification. Thankfully, that help came through.
Fellow playoff contenders Delta College, Jackson Community College and Cuyahoga all failed to earn results over the week. Delta lost to Owens Community College 4-3 on October 10 to stay stuck on 13 points. Jackson fell 4-0 to Lakeland Community College and 3-0 to Owens to stay stuck on nine points. Cuyahoga, the closest remaining opponent, stayed stuck on 15 points after losing 5-1 to Schoolcraft College and 9-0 to Cincinnati State.
With the results, Jackson is unable to catch Ancilla in the standings. Either Cuyahoga or Delta could mathematically pass Ancilla in the standings, but it is impossible for both to do so. Cuyahoga and Delta are scheduled to play each other on October 23.
Ancilla has one remaining regular season match on October 23 at NJCAA #5 Cincinnati State before they turn their attention to the postseason. After that, the Chargers find out whether they will play at Owens Community College in Toledo, OH, or at Lakeland Community College in Willoughby, OH.
A victory against either program would send Ancilla to Delta College in University Center, MI, for the Region 12 semi-finals.
“It’s a great opportunity for the team, and I hope they realize how special it really is,” said Drzewiecki. “All you have to do at this point is play one good match at a time. If we do that, we can take a good season and make it truly great. I know we’re looking forward to it, and we’re honored to represent Ancilla in the postseason again.”