By LYNDAJOE ECHERIVEL
The eighth seeded Pima Community College men’s soccer team tied the sixth seeded Lincoln College for fifth place at the National Junior College Athletic Association National Championship Tournament, Nov. 20.
With the 1-1 tie, the Aztecs couldn’t close the door on the Lynx of Lincoln. LC scored the only goal of the first half, which was answered back in the third minute of the second half by Aztec sophomore midfielder Jann Nash. Nash led the Aztec scoring throughout the playoffs.
“This last game was intense,” Nash said. “We were down for most of the game and I was able to score with three minutes left.”
Tournament rules did not allow for overtime or penalty kicks in consolation bracket play so the two teams settled for the tie.
With the tie, the Aztecs finished their season 19-7-2. The Aztecs also accomplished a NJCAA tournament first as their win over Iowa Western Community College on Nov. 19, was the first ever win for a team seeded eighth at the championship tournament.
“We did a lot this season, more than anyone expected so it was definitely something special,” Nash said.
Fellow Aztec, freshman forward Declan Fulton agrees their season was a success.
“What our team did this year is unprecedented, we set records no Pima team has ever done,” Fulton said. “We won the most amount of games in Pima men’s soccer history, we scored the fastest goal, the most goals in one game, the first eighth seeded team to win a game in nationals and the first shutout of Yavapai at their home field.”
Pima won their consolation bracket game as they defeated the fifth seeded IWCC, 1-0. Neither team scored in the opening half but sophomore forward Kolby Jacobson scored the only goal of the game with the assist from sophomore forward Nicholas Peppe. PCC lost their opening game at the 2011 NJCAA National Tournament as they were beat 1-0 by top seed Darton College, Albany GA, Nov. 17. The two teams played to a 0-0 tie at the half but the Cavaliers broke the deadlock midway through the second half, on a scramble in front of the Aztecs net. Pima had numerous goal attempts in the second half as they played most of the 45 minute period in the Darton end of the field, but the Aztecs could not find the back of the Cavalier’s net.
“Our season was fantastic considering the uneven playing field,” said head coach David Cosgrove.
Pima was the only team at the National Tournament without international players.
“Our whole team is American, and 20 out of 22 players are from the Tucson area,” said Fulton. “No team will ever have the their whole team from the same city.”
Next season the coaches look to rebuild the team since 15 of the 22 players are sophomores and will not be returning next year.
“We had so much team chemistry and so much passion throughout the year,” Fulton said. “It will be difficult filling in the holes for next year with our sophomores leaving since most of our team are sophomores.”