The Virginia Peninsula Community College men’s soccer team capped off its inaugural season with a conference championship.
The Gators, who finished the year 2-4, used a flurry of second-half goals to defeat Mid-Atlantic Christian University 6-2 on Oct. 22 in the New South Athletic Conference title match at Wanner Stadium in Williamsburg.
“My role in the course of a season is to see if we can build a rhythm as a team and find a style that suits our players and our abilities. I think it came together (tonight),” said coach Kevin Darcy.
Cannon Newell, from Williamsburg, opened the scoring for the Gators with a goal off a rebound about 27 minutes into the game. Jonathan Flores (Newport News), off an assist from Oliver McLaughlin (Williamsburg), made it 2-0 about nine minutes into the second half.
The Gators were just warming up. Newell, the game’s MVP, added assists on goals by Jacob Logan (Yorktown) and another by Flores for a 4-0 lead. Mid-Atlantic Christian, from Elizabeth City, N.C., made it 4-1 with 15 minutes left in the game, but Abdullah Ahwata (Newport News), assisted by Cody Thompson (Williamsburg) responded for the Gators. Esteban Quijada scored the visitor’s second goal with six minutes remaining in the game before an own goal by the Mustangs in the final minute closed out the scoring.
Darcy wasn’t surprised by the outcome, but he was surprised by how quickly the team came together late in the season. Prior to the conference title match, the Gators played well in scrimmages against Shaw University and Regent University.
“We built some rhythm in the last three games,” he said. “The Shaw game was good. The Regent game we really played well, and then tonight. … I felt we controlled the whole game.”
A layoff of more than a month didn’t adversely affect the women’s volleyball team, which returned to the court Oct. 19 and posted a three-set sweep at Cheney University in Pennsylvania. The Gators, whose previous matches were Sept. 9, posted their first win of the season with a 25-14, 29-27, 25-11 victory.
Coach Tommy Thomas said his team started out strong but was a little sloppy in the second set, falling behind by 12 before rallying to take a 2-0 lead.
“We’re a lot stronger than we were at the beginning of the year,” he said, adding they still make a lot of unforced errors. “They’re getting better.”
The two teams will face off again Nov. 1 at Heritage High School in Newport News.
Three days later, Nov. 4, the Gators (1-3) will play host to the NSAC Invitational, also at Heritage High School. At 10 a.m., VPCC will face Appalachian Bible College, followed by Mid-Atlantic Christian University playing the University of Virginia-Lynchburg. The consolation match will follow the second semifinal, with the championship match capping off the day’s events.
For more information on VPCC and its athletics programs, visit www.vpcc.edu.