By Peter Briguglio
The month of November meant the crowning of champions for a number of NJCAA Region 15 athletic programs and agonizing defeat for others as their seasons came to an end. Below we recap the results of some of our teams, and see how they fared against national competition.
To kick-off championship play around region XV, we began with the Division III Men’s soccer teams facing off on November 1st in the regional finals, where the #2 seed Nassau would go into battle with #1 seed Suffolk. Suffolk went into the game undefeated against region XV opponents and boasting an overall record of 16-1-2. Despite Suffolk scoring within the first minute of play and Nassau responding with 2 goal outburst just minutes later, the two teams found themselves locked into a defensive struggle for the remainder of the game. Nassau held onto their early 2-1 lead, which was first obtained in the 19th minute, to finish as region XV champions and move on to the national tournament. In the first round of the National Championship, which took place in Herkimer, NY, #4 Nassau was upset in the quarterfinals by #5 seed Genesee by a score of 2-1, ending their season.
On the DI side, Monroe College Men’s team began national championships pool play in Tyler, TX, on November 14th with an impressive victory over Southern Nevada, winning by a score of 9-2. After defeating Daytona State by a score of 4-0, the Mustangs finished pool play with the highest goal differential in the national championships. Mustangs midfielder Antonio Sanchez’s late game heroics would push Monroe to the NJCAA Championship match, as they defeated Ancilla with a goal netted by Sanchez in the 103rd minute to finish the game with a 4-3 lead. Unfortunately, Monroe College was unable to finish their magical year with a victory in the NJCAA Finals match. Tyler Junior College defeated Monroe after scoring 2 goals in the second half to end the game 2-0. Monroe College finished their year with an admirable overall record of 19-1-0.
Penalty kicks were the deciding factor in choosing a winner for the DIII Women’s Region XV title, as Nassau defeated Suffolk in nail-biting fashion to remain undefeated against region XV opponents in 2016. Region XV Coach of the Year Chris Megaloudis was undoubtedly pleased with the end result. Like the men, Nassau moved on to the NJCAA National Championship, where they were defeated 7-2 by #2 seed Montgomery in the quarterfinals.
The Queensborough Lady Tigers’ historic volleyball season ended featuring a number of all-region individual honors for multiple players, including a Region XV Player of the Year honor awarded to Zuri Williams. The sophomore also earned the Region XV Tournament’s Most Valuable Player award for her role in the capturing of the Lady Tigers’ first Region XV championship in school history. Queensborough made fairly quick work of Nassau, Orange and #2 seed Suffolk as they won all games in 3 sets to grab the trophy. Though Queensborough would exit nationals play in the quarterfinals, the Lady Tigers won the “Battle of NY” against Jefferson Community College to earn a 7th place ranking in the consolation bracket.
Monroe College Men and Women’s teams ran uncontested to secure both Region XV Cross Country Division Championships. The following week, both the Division I and Division III Men and Women’s NJCAA Championships were held in Canandaigua, NY, where Suffolk County placed in 2nd in the overall team standings behind Harper Community College for the Men’s Cross Country meet. In the NJCAA Division I Women’s Cross Country Championship, Susan Ejore of Monroe College posted a finishing time of 17:30.17 placing herself at second place in individual overall time.
Nassau and Sullivan men’s basketball began the year nationally ranked at the #6 and #7 slots, respectively, in the NJCAA preseason rankings poll as they look to live up to high expectations in the early stages of the season. Bronx men’s basketball has begun the season on a 7 game winning streak, including 3 wins against regional competition. Additionally, the LaGuardia men surpassed the 100 point mark in three of their first four games this year and posted a 4-1 record through the season’s first three weeks.
Sullivan women’s basketball went without a blemish on their record through the first three weeks of November and appear to be the class of the Region yet again, storming through tough nationally ranked competition such as Middlesex, Onondaga and LaGuardia.
The basketball season will cool down throughout the holiday season before getting back into full flight at the turn of the calendar.