Godfrey, Ill. - Lewis and Clark Community College's men's
soccer team won their district championship and earned a trip to
the national tournament Saturday, Nov. 9 when they defeated Jefferson
College 2-1 in Hillsboro, Mo.
The Trailblazers will spend the next week preparing for the
National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I
Championship Tournament. It is their first appearance in the
national tourney since 1989. The team also played in the tournament
in 1986. This year's tournament will be held Nov. 18-23 at Tyler
Junior College in Tyler, Texas.
The men are going to nationals 4-0 in their conference and
14-5-3 this season.
Throughout the season, Lewis and Clark's men's soccer team has
received honorable mention in the NJCAA polls. Currently the team
is ranked No. 19 in the National Soccer Coaches Association
They faced a Jefferson team who had defeated 4-3 at home at
Lewis and Clark on Oct. 14 and was ranked No. 16 in the NJCAA
"This will not be another 4-3 loss for us," Melvin Beckett
relayed to his teammates before the district game. "We can win our
trip to nationals. We are a good team."
Beckett took his own advice. He and Jake Stone, a sophomore
from Florissant, made the two Trailblazer goals in the game. Stone
scored in the first half on a free kick off Beckett at 11:45. In
the second half, Beckett scored with an assist from Jeffrey
Cameron, sophomore from Florissant, at 84:38 on the clock.
A freshman from Victoria, Australia, Beckett is playing his
first soccer season in the U.S. He recently was honored as the
NJCAA Division I Region 24 Player of the Year.
"We have a good team, and when you have a good team anything
is possible," said Beckett.
Didrik Rinde, a sophomore from Lillehammer, Norway, said today
the Trailblazers played competitively and getting the first goal
"Getting the first goal and putting a score on the board got
us going," Rinde said.
"Throughout the game we were playing well on defense and
especially in the second half. It was key to our winning this game.
I'm very excited about competing in nationals."
Trailblazer Goalkeeper Jack Filla, of O'Fallon, Mo., was named
NJCAA Division I Region 24 Goalkeeper of the Year. He said the key
to the win came down playing strong and smart.
"It's been a great season and we work hard for each other and
it is paying off. The rest is history. We are on to nationals,"
The game was close to a shutout for the Trailblazers. With
1:09 left to play, Vikings' Matthew Robinson scored with an assist
from Luke Heneghan to end the game 2-1.
Trailblazers Head Coach Tim Rooney was celebrating with his
team when he received a congratulatory call from Lewis and Clark
Community College President Dale Chapman.
"It is a big weekend for our teams and I am grateful we have
the support of our president, everyone from the college, and all
the parents and fans," Rooney said.
Rooney said he is ready for another game tomorrow with his
women's soccer team. The women will play St. Louis Community
College on the Meramec campus. A win will earn them their district
championship and a trip to nationals at Eastern Florida State
College in Melbourne, Fla., Nov. 18-23.
The Lewis and Clark women are 19-1 this season and are No. 6
in the nation according to the most recent NJCAA poll.
"We have a special group of players this year. Both teams have
worked hard for these opportunities and they have proved time and
again that they can win," Rooney said.
Lewis and Clark and Jefferson each had three shots on goal.
L&C had four corner kicks and Jefferson had three. Trailblazer
goalkeeper Filla made two saves and Jefferson had one.