West Windsor, N.J. – In a typical rebuilding year – when freshmen far outweigh sophomores on a roster – expectations for the season are often adjusted downward. But in the case of this year’s men’s soccer team, composed of 21 freshmen and just three returning sophomores, the Vikings had everything they needed to be at the top of their game and recapture the Region 19 title.
Finishing the year with a 14-5 record, the Vikings defeated Burlington County College 3-1 in the semi-final on Oct. 25 at the MCCC Stadium. Then they advanced to the Region 19 title game, defeating Harcum College 1-0 in a tense matchup. “We scored 25 minutes into the game on a pass from Erick Castro to Anthony Tweh and then spent most of the second half defending. We were going to win any way we could,” said Head Coach Widmarc Dalce, who completes his third season at the helm.
The season came to a disappointing end in the Northeast District Tournament with a 1-0 loss to Massasoit Community College in Brockton, Mass., on Nov. 8. Massasoit scored just 11 minutes in and, despite dominating much of the action, the Vikings could not find a way to score against Massasoit’s tough defense.
Still, while the team had its sights set on competing at the NJCAA national tournament, the Vikings came away from the 2014 season with a clear sense of a job well done.
Dalce says this year’s squad was one of the best he has coached since he has been at the college. “They were consistently a family on and off the field. When good things happened, it was for the team and when bad things happened, it was for the team. It was all about the team.”
According to Dalce, his players exhibited a high level of skill, enthusiasm and knowledge of the game. “When a couple of guys got hurt, we had players on the bench who could come in and get good results. We had a lot of depth. Most players could play any position,” he said.
Noting that the team was 3-3 after its first six games, Dalce knew they had to fix some things early on. “The coaching staff always spoke the truth. We would point out mistakes and suggest corrections, but mostly the players recognized their own mistakes and did the work themselves.”
Dalce calls his team “dangerous,” observing that they consistently rose to the challenge to be their best. “Everybody came to practice because they wanted to be there and they wanted to work hard for themselves and each other,” he said.
Forward Jared Rogers was named no. 4 among the Top 5 Players in Region 19 and was selected to the First Team All-Region. Forwards Marco Rossi and Christian Bermeo and defenders Eric Fuenmayor and Kellen Groover (goalkeeper) were named to the Second Team All-Region.
Coach Dalce praises Athletics Director John Simone and trainer Lisa Camillone for their support. “When we left for Massachusetts to play in the Districts, it was like we were going to the World Cup. It was a great time.”
Dalce expects that most of the freshmen will return. “They are not just good players; they are good students,” he said.