The Tyler Junior College men’s soccer team advance to the national championship game, while the women’s squad lost in a controversial ending.
In Albany, Ga., the Apaches avenged a season-opening loss to Darton (Ga.) and defeated the No. 1 Cavaliers, 4-1, on their home field. Darton had won all 19 of its matches this season.
In Melbourne, Fla., the Apache Ladies fell to No. 1 and host Brevard (Fla.), 3-2, on a goal that TJC officials said came after time had expired.
The fourth-seeded Apaches (19-3-1), playing in front of a raucous Darton crowd, took a 2-0 lead into halftime.
Sophomore Nathan Trout, a 6-3, 225-pound defender from Liverpool, England, scored on a header six minutes into the match off a corner kick by Oneil Fisher.
Joseph Pratt added an unassisted goal 20 minutes into the match on a kick that was misplayed by the Darton keeper.
The Apaches made it 3-0 seven minutes into the second half. Alan Rovira scored the goal and Fernando Castellanos had the assist.
With the match all but over, TJC coach Steve Clements said Darton started pressing forward and, in turn, giving the Apaches counter chances of which TJC was unable to capitalize.
Troy Tucker spoiled the shutout, scoring on a set piece right outside the box, to pull Darton within 3-1 with 25 minutes left.
Trout capped the scoring with his second goal off another Fisher corner kick in the final minute.
The Apaches finished with 10 shots on goal to four for the Cavaliers. TJC led 6-3 in corner kicks.
“We couldn’t be prouder of our guys,” Clements said. “That was a well-fought game and we certainly came to play.”
Clements praised the play of TJC’s defense, led by the back line of Casey Osborne, Trout, Wayne Hall and Hector Lasso. The goalkeeper is returning All-American Chris McGaughey.
“Defensively, we’ve just played so well in this tournament,” Clements said. “We’re defensively back on track.
“(The Cavaliers) have a very good attacking team with very good forwards. They never got loose to score.”
TJC now faces third-seeded Louisburg College (N.C.) for the national championship at 1 p.m. today. It’s the Apaches’ third trip to the national final in the past four years.
Louisburg beat Monroe (N.Y.), 5-1, in the other semifinal.
It was a shocking end to a hard-fought battle for the Apache Ladies soccer team who had hoped to repeat as the NJCAA Division I champions.
But it wasn’t meant to be.
With the scored tied 2-2, the countdown to the end of the game was in its final ticks when Katlyn Bales of Brevard kicked an arching shot from 25 yards out.
Tyler Junior College keeper Kat Van Meter couldn’t reach the ball as it sailed high and into the net.
But did the goal come in time?
After a brief huddle, officials said yes — giving No. 1 seed Brevard a place in Saturday’s championship title match.
But, TJC coach Corey Rose, whose team ends its season at 19-3-2, believes the wrong team is going into the final.
“Most of the game we were the better team, but being a better team doesn’t mean you win,” he said. “The last kick shouldn’t have been called a score, in my opinion. I’ve seen the pictures (film) as I believe time had ran out.”
Rose said the team is “kind of in shock like everybody else,” but “we’ve got to move on.”
Brevard scored near the middle of the first half on a kick by Bales. TJC responded with a score about 15 minutes later by Kaitlin Martindale.
The game went back and forth, but TJC appeared to dominate most of the second half.
Brevard added a goal by Courtney Hueston, but TJC also added to their total with a score by sophomore Stacie Murray.
That set up the dramatic last-minute shot that ended TJC’s trip to Florida.