The Howard Community College men’s and women’s soccer teams are off to the NJCAA Division III Soccer Championships.
Courtesy of district championship wins on Saturday, both programs will compete for national titles Nov. 8-11. The men’s tournament will be held at Wehrum Stadium in Herkimer, New York, while the women’s event will take place Wedgbury Stadium in Loves Park, Illinois.
The Dragons men’s squad (11-8) found its rhythm in the Region 20/District H tournament after an up-and-down regular season.
In the semifinals against Prince George's Community College on Thursday, Anthony Perez Rodriguez, who played at Hammond, scored six minutes into overtime to clinch a 2-1 victory. And two days later, first-half goals from Anderson Marroquin (Hammond) — last year’s Howard County Times boys soccer Player of the Year — and Bryce Waller (River Hill) were enough to upset top-seeded Anne Arundel Community College, sending the Dragons to the national tournament for the second straight year.
On the women’s side, Howard CC (11-7) beat Anne Arundel Community College in its semifinal Wednesday thanks to a score from 2016 Howard County Times girls soccer Player of the Year Kylie Toler (Reservoir). That set up Saturday’s championship tilt with Oxford College of Emory University, where the Dragons continued to dominate. Hailey Montoya and Nikki Vieira each found the back of the net before halftime, while Cassandra Padellford made three saves in a 2-0 triumph.
The Dragons will now head to Illinois in search of the program’s first-ever national championship.