soccer team brought home a fifth-place trophy from the NCCAA national tournament
held Nov. 22-25 in Kissimmee, Florida.
As champions of the North
Central Region, the Trolls earned the sixth seed of the eight teams and
lost their first match, a 3-2 overtime heartbreaker to Piedmont College.
They rebounded to win their next two contests, a 4-0 shutout of Union University
and a 3-1 triumph over Grace College. Coach Jonathan Lenarz closed his
first campaign with 16-6-2 record.
"We've got a lot to build
on," Lenarz said. "It was a great season, we finished strong, and we showed
a lot of heart and character. I'm very pleased with our team's effort throughout
the entire season."
For seniors Jose Dominguez
(Puebla, Mexico), Paul Miantona (Liberia, Africa), Brian Laack (Sheboygan,
Wisconsin), Chris Decker (Orland Park, Illinois), Mike Crane (Muskegon,
Michigan), and Ron Thenn (Hudsonville, Michigan), it was a bittersweet
ending to a thrilling ride.
"We had a lot of fun this
season," Laack said. "Qualifying for the national tournament again meant
that our hard work paid off. It was tough to take off that uniform for
the last time, but winning our final game made it a little easier."
The Trolls were lauded for
superb performances collectively and individually. They received the Team
Sportsmanship Award for exceptional behavior, and Miantona and junior defender
Hassan Minter (Ontario, California) earned spots on the all-tournament
team. Miantona, a forward who scored four goals in the three games, also
received honors as the tournament's most outstanding player.