DUNDALK, Md. -- CCBC Essex men's soccer and Harford Community College women's soccer won its respective NJCAA Region XX Division I titles on Saturday at CCBC Dundalk, in a tournament hosted by CCBC Catonsville.
Sophomore Steve Momenya scored the game's only goal as the Knights defeated Frederick Community College on Saturday to win its fifth consecutive NJCAA Region XX Division I title.
The victory also secures the Knights a spot in the NJCAA Men's Soccer Division I Championship tournament for the third time in five seasons.
Momenya (Parkdale) scored the goal off a free kick at 78:55.
The Knights (15-5) dominated the game and had most of the scoring chances, the first coming in the 5th minute.
Just six minutes later, the Cougars (14-4-1) had a great chance to open the scoring, but could not capitalize.
A high bouncing ball was misjudged by the Knights' defense and Cougar freshman Adam Needle tried to chip the ball over sophomore goalkeeper Trevor Brookhart (Liberty), but Brookhart made the save.
Momenya had his first quality chance in the 23rd minute.
Avetrani took a corner and picked out Momenya, who rose and headed it on past the keeper, but a Cougar defender was there to clear it off the line.
The second half was the same way, with the Knights trying to chip away and score a goal.
The first attempt of the half, however, came from Cougars' freshman Luis Flores in the 48th minute.
Flores lined up an audacious effort and took a 25-yard shot that sailed wide of the right post, which was covered by Brookhart.
Crawford had another chance he could not finish in the 66th minute.
Momenya took a free kick on the side of the box. He hit a low cross to the near post where Crawford shot with a sliding effort, but it ended up being an easy save for Cougar goalkeeper Joseph Garner.
It wasn't until the 79th minute that Momenya finally found the back of the net.
Sophomore Ibrahim Kouyate (Blair) won a free kick just inches outside of the box. Surprisingly, Avetrani let Momenya take the free kick, which was slightly to the right side of the top of the box. Instead of trying to dip the ball over the wall, Momenya took a left-footed curling shot to the far post that slipped just past Garner into the lower left-hand corner.
"[Avetrani] usually takes [the free kicks]," said Momenya. "I kind of had confidence, and I believed in myself, and I told him, 'I got it.' And, thanks to him, he let me have it, and luckily it went in."
Four Knights were voted to the NJCAA Region XX All-Tournament Team: Avetrani, Momenya, Brookhart, and freshman Gaige Robinson (Perry Hall).
"It's an accomplishment," Momenya said. "I feel like everyone on our team deserves to be on there because we play good as a team. So, I'm happy to be part of the team."
Robinson said, "I'm extremely excited. I had no clue. When they started calling us, I was like, 'What is this?' But it was a nice thing to get."
The Knights will continue its season at the NJCAA Men's Soccer Division I Championships, which will take place November 14 – 19 in Tyler, Texas.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The Fighting Owls absolutely dominated the first half, out-shooting the Knights 13-4, while also earning six corner kicks and practically living in the Knights half of the field.
- The breakthrough started with a long through ball into the corner that Mackenzie Wills was able to chase down. Her cross into the box was right on the mark as Briana Stabile was the first to the ball. Her attempted shot that wasn't hit cleanly turned into a perfect pass to Chase Otenasek who was wide open on the far side and slotted it into the open net.
- The second Harford goal came just five minutes later as the Fighting Owls strung together a bunch of passes in some nice build up play. The ball found its way to Wills, at the top of the 18-yard box, who then passed the ball through the Knights' defense to Grace Humes who slammed the ball into the bottom left corner of the net.
- With the Fighting Owls comfortably ahead 2-0, the second half was all about possession as Harford was able to see the game out for an emphatic celebration.
- With the victory, the Fighting Owls have now won three straight Region XX championships, as they continue to keep a strangle-hold over the region.
- Harford had five players named to the all tournament team; Jenna Staton, Stabile, Wills, Otenasek, and Alexandria Adams.
- Otenasek's goal was her 6th of the season, but by far the most important of her two year career at Harford as it turned out to be the game-winner for a regional championship.
- Harford will now move on to the NJCAA District L Championship game on Saturday, Nov. 5, which will be hosted by Region X champion Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, N.C.
*This article was contributed to by Jordan Ganzermiller (CCBC Essex Athletics) and Mark Winkel (Harford C.C. Athletics).