Salt Lake Community College celebrated the return of the men’s soccer team Friday after winning their first NJCAA Division I championship.
The second-ranked Bruin men defeated No. 1 Iowa Western Community College 2-1 in overtime on Thursday. The national championship is the first for SLCC soccer and the third overall in the history of the athletic program (men’s basketball in 2009 and 2016).
The win caps a historic year for the entire soccer program, as the women’s soccer team finished second in their NJCAA Division I tournament.
Men’s soccer makes historic run
Salt Lake kicked off their tournament run with a 1-0 loss in pool play against Coastal Bend College on June 5. The Bruins rebounded two days later with a 3-1 win against Barton College. Freshman Taimu Okiyoshi had two goals in the victory for SLCC.
In their semifinal match on Wednesday, SLCC defeated Harcum College by a score of 4-0 to advance to the championship round. Sophomore Samuel Owusu had two goals for the Bruins in the win.
With their first championship on the line, the Bruins battled to a 1-1 tie with Iowa Western before sophomore Paul Richnow scored the winning goal in overtime for the Bruins, clinching the NJCAA Division I Men’s Soccer National Championship.
We have a 𝑪𝒉𝒂𝒎𝒑𝒊𝒐𝒏 🏆
— NJCAA Network (@NJCAANetwork) June 11, 2021
“This win is the perfect end to what has been a challenging year for our entire campus and especially our athletic department. Our players never quit in believing in themselves and our program,” said head coach Mark Davis.
“It is an amazing win given the fact that we only began the program five years ago. My heartiest congratulations to our team and coaching staff who shined throughout the year and now claim the title of NATIONAL CHAMPIONS!”, SLCC President Deneece Huftalin wrote in an email.
Women’s soccer almost achieves its own title dreams
After winning their pool play contest 4-0 against Butler Community College on June 3, the SLCC women’s soccer team advanced to play Seminole State College on June 5.
The Bruins and the Raiders played an intense back-and-forth game that ended with a 3-3 tie in regulation and needed a shootout to crown a winner. In the shootout, SLCC earned the victory by a score of 3-2 to advance to the semifinals to play Eastern Florida State College. Freshman Quincy Richards had a goal and assist during regulation as well as a goal during the shootout. Freshman Emma Fry had a goal during regulation and the game-winning goal in the shootout.
Salt Lake overcomes a lightning delay, PK's, and a four-hour long battle to defeat Seminole State-OK in a thriller to advance to the semifinal of the #NJCAASoccer DI Women's Championship.https://t.co/MjG0KkzZHm pic.twitter.com/s9GG4ruiYj
— NJCAA Soccer (@NJCAA_Soccer) June 5, 2021
In their semifinal match on June 7, the Bruins played another close game, ultimately defeating the Titans by a score of 1-0. Sophomore Hannah Lee scored the lone goal of the match, which sent SLCC to their first national championship game in program history.
Salt Lake faced No. 1-seed Tyler Junior College for the NJCAA championship on Tuesday. Unfortunately, for only the second time all season, the Bruins failed to score a goal, and lost the match 2-0 to finish the 2021 campaign as the national runner-up.
“In the end, they made history by being the first SLCC women’s soccer team to go to the national tournament and came in second in the nation. It’s true they did not earn the title of national champions, but they are champions in mind … champions of spirit, champions of SLCC, champions of hard work, and champions of the concept of team. I am so proud of them,” SLCC President Deneece Huftalin wrote in an email.
Proud of our team. Represented @SaltLakeCC really well along with representing the great state of Utah. Salt Lake Women's Soccer finished as the @NJCAA_Soccer national runner-up pic.twitter.com/ezrhFdZZef
— SLCC Athletics (@BruinAthletics) June 9, 2021