TJC teams earn berths to national soccer tournaments

TJC women celebrate defeating Navarro on Saturday. Photo by Vanessa E. Curry

The climates in Georgia and Florida should be nice this time of year and the Tyler Junior College soccer teams are about to find out just how nice.

Both earned tickets to the NJCAA National Tournaments with shutout wins Saturday on their home field.

The Apaches bested Paris Junior College 5-0 to claim the district title. The Apache Ladies followed up with a 2-0 win over Navarro College.

Both games were held at Pat Hartley Soccer Complex.

The national tournaments are scheduled for Nov. 12-17 — in Albany, Ga., for the men and in Melbourne, Fla., for the women.


The Apaches (ranked No. 5 nationally) started off their scoring with a penalty kick from Alan Rovira, who would assist teammate Wayne Hall later in the first half for another goal.

Fernando Castellianos, Hector Lasso, and Patrick Foley also added goals with assists from Joseph Pratt, Hamza El Otmani, and Casey Osborne, respectively.

TJC ended the game with 10 total shots on goal, two corner kicks and two goalie saves. Paris failed to record any shots on goal, but had three corner kicks and two saves.

Coach Steve Clements said the early scores took a lot of pressure off of the team.

“When it is 2-0 you’re feeling good,” said Clements, whose team is 16-3-1. “At 3-0, you feel like you’ve got it and you can relax a little.”

This is the eighth national tournament appearances for the Apaches. The squad won national championship in 2009 and 2010.


The Navarro Lady Bulldogs kept knocking at the goal for a score, but the Apache Ladies’ defense kept a lock on it throughout the game.

After a scoreless first half, TJC started off the second with two quick goals — the first from Alice Coyne, whose shot crossed the front of the goal from left to right and found the upper right corner.

Less than five minutes later, Apache Lady Jahmela Williams poked a pass to teammate Bobby Guitierrez, who kicked it in for a score.

Later in the second half the Lady Bulldogs thought they had got one past TJC’s goal keeper Kat VanMeter, but the referee called it a save.

TJC coach Corey Rose, whose team is 17-2-2, said Navarro played a good game, but the Apache Ladies were up to the challenge.

“They are very good, but we were able to rotate in fresh players and they (TJC) worked very hard,” Rose said.

The Apache Ladies are the defending national champions. They also won it all in 2009.


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