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The Bobcats played a flawless game against Rochester College last week in their first game of the USCAA Championship, held in Charleston, West Virginia. The Bobcats came out fighting, dominating their opponents from the opening whistle.
After a long journey there, the Bobcats took some time a day before the Championships to walk along the river front to reflect on what was in front of them and what they’d experienced through the many great moments of the season. On a dedication wall along the walking route, they talked of their hopes and aspirations for the upcoming games. After a strong practice, the Bobcats were ready.
Rochester College had five yellow cards and one red card in last year’s USCAA championships, so Coach Nick expected physical, hard-nosed play. Worried about losing players to injury, Coach Nick advised his team to play “high pressure, no fouls, and play quick 1-2 touch.”
It worked. The Bobcats pounced on their opponents in the first ten minutes of the game with a 30-yard blast to the top corner of the net, scored by Bradley Nestor. Two more goals followed by Erickson Alves and Yussuf Olajide, Alves’ fancy footwork got him easily past the goal keeper, and Olajide followed up a shot by Latimer. In the second half, Olajide and Latimer scored insurance goals, one each, to cement the win for the Bobcats.
The Bobcats raised the eyebrows of some of the nation’s elite coaches, including those of Indiana University (2nd in NCAA D I), who were scouting some of the stand out players at the Championship game. Coach Nick was happy with their results. “We met our goals,” said Coach Nick. “We are looking forward to playing against last year’s champs: West Virginia Tech.”
The semifinals the next day brought a heavyweight fight to the Bobcats. They had a phenomenal scoring opportunity against West Virginia Tech (WV Tech) where Kevin Beaton stole the ball, crossed to Latimer, who headed it, just missing the top of the goal by mere inches. Soon after, West Virginia Tech stole a ball from the Bobcats, and scored to lead 1-0.
It was the first time the Bobcats trailed all year, and it took some time for them to settle back in. The rest of the half was a prelude for the result. “There was a lot of back and forth, hard-hitting, hardworking soccer,” said Coach Nick. The Bobcats out-shot West Virginia 12-9, but they couldn't find the back of the net.
“We outshot and I feel outplayed our opponent (WV Tech),” said Coach Nick. “Those who witnessed the game saw the true National Championship game.” The Bobcats left everything they had on the field. “I’m really very proud of them,” said Coach Nick. “It was a great experience and a tremendous opportunity for us.” WV Tech went on the next day to win the national title by beating Maine-Fort Kent by a final score of 2-0
The Bobcats ended the season 11-1-1, recorded 9 shut-outs and allowed only four goals the entire season. The men’s soccer team displayed a style of soccer that was admired by fans, coaches and teams across the country. “We’ve made an incredible impact in our first year against four year colleges as a USCAA member,” said Coach Nick. “Now we know what it takes. We will be ready next year. Watch out, USCAA.”
Bobcats Earn All-America Honors
Charleston, West Virginia - The United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) announced that the following student athletes from Bryant & Stratton College have been selected to the 2014 USCAA All-America team.
Jack Ball (England) First Team All-America
Sean Latimer (England) First Team All-America
Erickson Alves (Brockton, MA) First Team All-America
Yussuf Olajide (Brooklyn, NY) Second Team All-America