Men’s, Women’s soccer eliminated in Nationals


Photo courtesy of the National Junior College Athletic Association.

Both men’s and women’s soccer squads got shut in the first round in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III national tournament.

Dan Elson and Aidan Gunn

Both men’s and women’s Riverhawks soccer teams got shut out in New York on Nov. 9 in the first round in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III national tournament.

The Riverhawks men’s team lost 5-0 to the Genesee Community College Cougars. Midfielder Unai Cruz Prieto scored three goals in the game—two of them in the first 18 minutes. Riverhawks goalkeeper Edgar Garcia turned down 7 of 12 shots. Goalkeeper Oliver Alaviuhkola had two saves. 

“I think there were stretches of the game where we actually controlled the game and took it to them,” head men’s soccer coach Nick Cosentino said. “I think what hurt us the most was the early goals. I mean they had a penalty kick in the third minute and then we had this defensive error on the second goal.”

The men’s team has lost in the first round in back-to-back national tournaments. The women’s squad made nationals for the first time since 2014. 

Center midfielder Samuel Adams said the Riverhawks came out slow. 

“We weren’t really prepared and we didn’t meet the energy at that level,” Adams, a second-year transfer studies student, said. “We were playing a little too defensively. So we let in a few goals off the start but then as soon as we changed formation and got our energy back, we fared pretty well for the rest of the game.”

The men’s team finished its regular season with nine wins and four losses. In the regional playoffs, the squad won two games and lost zero and in nationals, the Riverhawks lost their first round game and their consolation game.

Midfielder Leyton Calzado said the tournament match was a tough game. 

“It was a long game for us,” Calzado, a first-year transfer studies student, said. “We couldn’t get the ball up the field. We couldn’t connect passes and they were all over us.”

Athletic Director Duane Herr said the Riverhawks “never really got it going offensively to get any goals in ourselves.”

The Riverhawks women’s squad lost 4-0 to the 11-0-1 Dallas College Brookhaven Bears, who went on to win the national tournament and finished the 2022 campaign undefeated.

Riverhawks goalkeeper Kaitlin Kenney stopped 12 of 16 shots. Bears defender and midfielder Bailey Clark scored the first goal, which was assisted by Natalie Lopez in the 41st minute of the game. The Bears scored two goals in the 51st minute within a span of 30 seconds. The squad held the Riverhawks to no shots in the game. 

Still, Herr said the team kept “the No. 1 seed [that] had been unbeaten scoreless through the first half. [We] felt like we had them pretty frustrated.”

Head women’s coach Jim Griffiths said the team played well. 

“I thought they represented the college well,” Griffiths said. “I thought they opened a lot of people’s eyes because our record was not good going into it.”

The Riverhawks won four games and lost seven during the regular season, went 1-0 during the regional postseason and went 1-1 during nationals. Midfielder Ally Hall said the Riverhawks were the underdogs in the tournament. 

“I think we did a really good job of pushing each other but always being there for each other,” Hall, a second-year transfer studies student, said. 

Forward Taylor Stahl agreed.

“We did a lot better than we thought we would,” Stahl, a second-year psychology student, said. “We were the underdogs like Ally said and we proved to ourselves that we are better than we thought as long as we work together.”

Reporter Holden Smith contributed to this article.