Soccer Season Ends in Heartbreaker to TJC

%28From+left%29+Jeffery+Hernandez%2C+Bryan+Gomez%2C+Roberto+Diaz%2C+and+Antone+Jarvis+play+against+Laredo+Community+College+Oct.+16.+The+Coyotes+lost+their+bid+to+advance+to+the+national+tournament+when+they+fell+to+the+Apaches+Nov.+8.+

Photo Credit: Luis Lalmida

(From left) Jeffery Hernandez, Bryan Gomez, Roberto Diaz, and Antone Jarvis play against Laredo Community College Oct. 16. The Coyotes lost their bid to advance to the national tournament when they fell to the Apaches Nov. 8.

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San Jacinto College soccer wrapped up the 2015 season Nov. 8 at the District championship with a loss to the Tyler Junior College Apaches 2-0.

According to head coach Ian Spooner, the game “was a heartbreaking loss.” The Apaches were ranked second among community college soccer programs in the nation.

The road to the championship began at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XIV tournament Nov. 1. The Coyotes outscored Paris Junior College 1-0. After securing the win, they advanced to the District championship semi-final round, travelling to Picayune, Mississippi to face off with Pearl River College, who was ranked number one in the District tournament.

The Coyotes emerged victorious from the semi-final matchup with a score of 2-1. Spooner said his concerns for the semi-final game included the adverse field and weather conditions, but felt confident about their ability to match up well with the opponent. He went on to say Pearl River had a quality team, but San Jac dominated the game. From the win, the Coyotes earned a spot to battle Tyler and a chance to advance to the national tournament.

San Jac has a strong rivalry with Tyler Junior College due to a history of close games and playoff matches. The Coyotes spar with the Apaches at least twice a year because of District schedules. Spooner described the meetings with Tyler as “intense,” and the District championship game as a rough loss that was a disappointing end to their season. They would not be invited to the national tournament.

However, Spooner offered a glimpse into his thoughts as he assessed this season and strategized for the future adding “we have a strong and mature group of guys on our team, and we are going to start preparing for next year.”

Three days after the end of their season, the Coyotes were found scrimmaging on the South campus field before the sun was up developing strategies to maximize their potential for next year. During the offseason, vital athletic objectives will include strength and conditioning training, quality recruiting, and replacing leaders lost to graduation.

Meanwhile, sophomore Derick Gonzalez, whose freshman year was cut short by injury, said this “was a good long season” that had a rocky start with their first loss to Paris Junior College Oct. 9.

“It was a growth opportunity for us,” Gonzales said, “We really had to mature and come together as a team. We played with much more consistency after that loss.”

Furthermore, he said the high point of the season was winning against Pearl River in the Regional semi-finals.

Gonzalez, who was also an orientation leader for the South campus, said San Jac was a great starting place for him, and he encourages up-and-coming soccer student-athletes to push themselves to make the most of their collegiate experience.

In the meantime, Spooner looks toward the future noting the Coyotes have a good core and he “feels good about their prospects for next year.”