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Waubonsee Community College’s men’s soccer team earned the program’s first ever trip to the NJCAA Division I National Tournament on Saturday afternoon. The Chiefs captured their second straight Region IV Championship with a nail-biting victory over Moraine Valley Community College in a shootout 5-4.

Chiefs win Region title in shootout, qualify for National Tournament

NJCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Region IV Championship

NJCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Region IV Championship

1st 2nd OT#1 OT#2 Shootout
Waubonsee 0 0 0 0 5 (18-4)
@ Moraine Valley 0 0 0 0 4 (17-3-1)

Waubonsee Community College’s men’s soccer team earned the program’s first ever trip to the NJCAA Division I National Tournament on Saturday afternoon. The Chiefs captured their second straight Region IV Championship with a nail-biting victory over Moraine Valley Community College in a shootout 5-4. It is the third time Waubonsee has won the title in the last five years. However, the two previous times the Chiefs were also required to play in the Great Lakes District match against the Region XI representative, which they lost both times. This year both the Region IV and Region XI winners receive automatic bids to be part of the 12-team National Tournament. Waubonsee will play in the NJCAA Division I National Tournament beginning on Nov. 13 against a yet-to-be-determined opponent at Mountain Valley Field in Prescott, Arizona.

Waubonsee (18-4), seeded fourth in the post-season tournament despite winning the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference (ISCC) championship for the second year in a row, edged Moraine Valley 4-3 the last week of September. The loss was one of only two the second-seeded Cyclones (17-3-1) suffered during the regular season as they finished second in the ISCC. This rematch was as tightly contested as the first time the two teams met and then some.

The teams played through a scoreless first and second half, with each team having excellent scoring opportunities. Waubonsee keeper Devin Hernandez and Moraine Valley keeper Gustavo Flores were up to the challenge each time as the match progressed through two scoreless 10-minute, sudden death overtimes. That sent the game into a winner-take-all, penalty kick shootout. Flores, battling all game through an injury sustained in the Cyclones’ previous match, was replaced in goal by back-up keeper Abel Cavada-Bautista. Moraine Valley then won the coin toss and elected to go second.

Waubonsee’s Reuel Erastus-Obilo, the Chiefs’ leading scorer this season, missed on the very first penalty kick attempt as he hit the left post. Moraine Valley made good on its next two shots while Bailey Kish and Edgar Caro also scored to momentarily pull the Chiefs even at two. The Cyclones’ Michael Kaczmarczyk then missed just wide of the left post to even things up after three shots. The Chiefs’ Alan Camarena then booted one past Cavada-Bautista before the Cyclones’ Sean McLaughlin also scored to knot things at three. Luis Correa-Cabral then drilled a shot into the right side of the net while Cavada-Bautista dove the other way. Moraine Valley then tied it at four to send the match into a second shootout round. Sesar Nieves then gave Waubonsee a 5-4 lead when he smacked a shot into the right side of the net. Hernandez then made the game-winning save when he dove to his left to knock down Rafal Kobylarcayk’s shot setting off a jubilant celebration as Hernandez raced to midfield where he was mobbed by his teammates.

For the match Hernandez was credited with eight saves, and was tabbed the Most Valuable Player of the Region IV Tournament after allowing just three goals with 18 saves over three matches. Flores recorded 11 saves in net for the Cyclones through 110 minutes of action. Waubonsee head coach Brett Suhayda was also named the Region IV Coach of the Year.

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