Eastern Florida Women, Men Ready For National Soccer Tournaments
By Mark DeCotis, Eastern Florida State // November 14, 2015
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Statistics tell a strikingly different story for Eastern Florida’s women’s and men’s soccer teams but the results are strikingly the same.
Both teams are playing in their respective NJCAA Division I national tournaments beginning Monday and both are among the top three seeds, the women No. 1 and the men No. 3.
The women enter the tournament at the Titan Soccer Complex on the Melbourne Campus at 14-0 while the men take their 14-1-2 record to Patrick Henry Community College in Martinsville, Virginia.
The women, also top-seeded in Pool A, play their first game against Spartanburg Methodist at 5:30 p.m. Monday and meet Pima at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The men, the top seed in Pool C, play Morton at 5 p.m. Monday and Jefferson at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Eastern Florida beat Jefferson 3-2 at home on Sept. 11.
The semifinals in both tournament are Friday and the finals on Saturday.
Head coach Oliver Twelvetrees’ men’s team played grinding game after grinding game, being in must-win, playoff mode for five matches since suffering its only loss, 2-1 at ASA Miami on Oct. 9. Meanwhile head coach Jeff Carr’s women’s team has been a steamroller offensively and stalwart defensively.
Consider these numbers:
Sophomore co-captain Briana Camargo is third nationally in assists with a school-record 22; freshman Paula Astiazaran is sixth with 20; Camargo’s twin sister and 2014 school-record holder Abbie is eighth with 17. Astiazaran is tied for fourth nationally in goals with a school-record 25 while classmate and fellow Spaniard Julia Hernandez is 12th with 22.
Astiazaran is third nationally in points with 70. Hernandez is 10th with 56.
As a team, Eastern Florida’s women are first nationally in assists with 114 and second in shots per game at 26.2. The Titans are eighth as team in goals with 90 and 16th in penalty kicks going 2-for-3.
The women allowed only 10 goals and posted four shutouts. They set a school record with 13 goals scored in a game and broke it the next day, netting 18.
Their closest game was a come-from-behind 4-3 home field victory over Lewis & Clark of Illinois in the season’s third game on Sept. 6. After that the slimmest margin was two goals in two 3-1 victories over Florida College System Activities Association/NJCAA Region 8 foe Polk State College.
Goalkeepers, freshman Steff Barreras and sophomore Asmara Holmes, combined for 47 saves, Barreras playing 946 minutes and Holmes 314.
Conversely the men scored 52 goals and allowed 19, also posting four shutouts. They scored a season-high seven goals once and six twice. They won five games by one goal and tied 2-2 and 1-1.
Sophomore goalkeeper Nate Himes is fifth nationally in goals against with seven and has never lost while in goal for the Titans. Sophomore Kekuta Jatta allowed 12 goals and made 44 saves in 918 minutes. Himes made 21 saves in 560 minutes.
Jatta is credited with three shutouts.
The men are seventh in shots per game at 22.1; 11th in shots with 354; sixth in assists at 67 and sixth in PKs going 5-for-8.
The women’s tournament schedule is:
Monday, Nov. 16
10 a.m. – Schoolcraft vs Butler
12:30 – Laramie vs Iowa Central
3:00 – Moraine Valley vs Tyler
5:30 – Spartanburg Methodist vs Eastern Florida
Tuesday, Nov. 17
10 a.m. -Schoolcraft vs Darton
12:30 – Laramie vs Lewis & Clark
3:00 – Moraine Valley vs Monroe
5:30 – Spartanburg Methodist vs Pima
Wednesday, Nov. 18
10 a.m. – Darton vs Butler
12:30 – Lewis & Clark vs Iowa Central
3:00 – Monroe vs Tyler
5:30 – Pima vs Eastern Florida
Friday, Nov. 20
5 pm – Semi-Finals (Highest Remaining Seed) vs. (Lowest Remaining Seed)
8 pm – Semi-Finals (Second Highest Remaining Seed) vs. (Second Lowest Remaining Seed)
Saturday, Nov. 21: 7 pm – Championship (Semi-Final Winners)
All games will be webcast at www.njcaatv.com. The final also will be telecast live on WEFS-TV.
Women’s tournament admission prices are: Tournament pass all matches: Adult: $35, students: $15; Individual match admission: adult: $10, students: $7; Children 5 and under, free. College students must present school ID.
Admission is free for Eastern Florida faculty, staff and students with Eastern Florida ID.
Concessions and restrooms are on site as is parking.
Things get under way on Sunday as the teams are welcomed and hear a keynote speech at 6 p.m. in the King Center for the Performing Arts on the Melbourne Campus. The pre-tournament barbecue dinner and T-shirt exchange follows in the Titan Field House.
Eckerd College (Florida) head coach, former U.S. Women’s National Team member and NCAA Division I all-time leading goal scorer Danielle Fotopoulos will deliver the keynote speech.
Cost for the banquet is $10 per person for players, coaches, team personnel, school officials/administrators and $15 per person for family, friends and additional travelers.
The men’s tournament schedule is:
Monday, Nov. 16
1 pm – Louisburg vs. Massasoit
3 pm – Tyler vs. ASA New York
5 pm – Eastern Florida vs. Morton
7 pm – Pima vs. Hill
Tuesday, Nov. 17
1 pm – Iowa Western vs. Massasoit
3 pm – Schoolcraft vs. ASA New York
5 pm – Jefferson vs. Morton
7 pm – Lewis & Clark vs. Hill
Wednesday, Nov. 18
1 pm – Louisburg vs. Iowa Western
3 pm – Tyler vs. Schoolcraft
5 pm – Eastern Florida vs. Jefferson
7 pm – Pima vs. Lewis & Clark
Friday, Nov. 20
4:30 pm – Semi-Finals (Highest Remaining Seed) vs. (Lowest Remaining Seed)
7 pm – Semi-Finals (Second Highest Remaining Seed) vs. (Second Lowest Remaining Seed)
Saturday, Nov. 21: 3 pm – Championship (Semi-Final Winners)
All men’s games will be webcast at www.njcaatv.com
The women’s tournament also features other potent offensive teams and players.
Butler Community College is second in goals with 113; Tyler Junior College is fourth with 107; Schoolcraft is fifth 105; and Darton State 10th with 84.
The national goal leader is Lewis & Clark’s Nicole Howard with 38. Schoolcraft’s Shae van Gessen is second with 35.
Howard is first in points with 92; van Gassen second with 82; Lewis & Clark’s Cassidy Foley is fifth with 64. Foley leads in assists with 32. Howard has 20.
The tournament appearance for the women is their fourth straight in six seasons as a program. They were national runners-up in 2012, lost in the first round in 2013 and lost in the semifinals last season.
For the men the appearance is the second in their three years as a program. They lost in the first round in 2013 and lost in the district final, one step away from the national tournament, in 2014.
What they’re saying about national tournaments:
Men’s head coach Oliver Twelvetrees: “We’ve got a lot of heart and determination and a lot of players want to bring their game up and rise to the occasion. I think the boys have shown all but one game this season that we’ve been able to get a positive result and they can rise to the occasion and win the game.”
Men’s striker Dennis Hall: “Our depth. Players can come in off the bench and change the game. When (Yannick) Koffi went down I happened to step up. Franco (Massacessi) stepped up when Luke (Ferreira) wasn’t starting one game. It’s definitely our depth that’s helped us a lot.
“At the end of the day it’s who wants the game more, who wants to win it more. Clearly we’ve been wanting the game more than anyone else. We really want this title. We want to bring it back to Melbourne.”
Freshman midfielder Luke Ferreira: “It’s been a big change since the beginning of the season. We’ve been starting to work harder together as a team. When it comes down to the harder moments we start to work together and we get the job done.”
Freshman striker J.J. Donnelly: “It means a lot to us, especially for me coming over from England with the boys. Just can’t wait for it. Everyone’s got confidence in our team and we knew what we needed to do to get the job done. We needed to turn it on and we did.”
“We’ve got to tweak a couple of things. We’ve got to be a little sharper and a little smarter in decision making and be a lot more organized defensively coming up against some of the better teams at the national tournament,” said Women’s head coach Jeff Carr.
“I think there is pressure. There are expectations. With pressure there is going to be great opportunity to win a national championship. We get to play at home which is really exciting, really exciting.”
Women’s sophomore midfielder Rosalina Lindo: “I think for us the motive going into these games is revenge because the way we went out last year and the team’s we played. We’re just looking to get to that point again and further. We’re excited.
“I think our team this year is more talented. I think we are the most talented team in the national tournament and if we play the way we know how to play we could make something out of this. Everyone needs to be on the same page. We have to work together.”
Sophomore goalkeeper Asmara Holmes: “It means we finally get a second chance and a lot of teams don’t get second chances. Last year was heartbreaking but it just means we have a chance, so we can’t mess up, to finally win a national tournament for this school.
“It’s going to take focus, hard work, determination, heart. It’s going to take so much heart. Coaches keep iterating you can have talent but if they don’t work hard you’re not going to get the results you need. Obviously we have that talented team so now we’re just going to have to work hard so we can get the result that we want.”
“Last year we had a good chance but we just came up short. I think this year we have a better team and we’ve been playing well together. I think we have a good shot,” said sophomore midfielder Briana Camargo.
“We’re going to have to work together, keep practicing hard and just not let the teams beat us. We’ve got to come out strong. I think some of us are feeling nervous about it because it’s a big tournament, a lot of coaches will be here. We can’t let that get to us. I think we’ll be fine.”
Sophomore defender Serena Delgado: “It means everything. It’s really exciting to go back there. If we win it all it will be great. It’s our only goal. It’s going to be awesome.
“It’s going to take determination, it’s going to take bonding. It’s going to take skill. I think we have all those qualities.”