GPC Men’s Soccer Team season ends with a tie to Darton State
By: Ben Abrams
The end of the 2014 season for the Georgia Perimeter Jaguars can be summed up by two plays, during the 2-2 draw against Darton State Cavaliers on Saturday, Oct. 27.
In the last minutes of the game, midfielder Chevaun Blake (#17) launched a potentially game-winning shot towards the goal that was out of Cavalier goalie Trevor Newton’s (#1) reach. The ball was misfired toward the top of the goal and ricocheted off the crossbar.
Two minutes later, history replayed itself in front of the crowd as Blake’s second game winning attempt to score a goal ended with a similar result. After the game concluded three minutes later in the 2-2 draw, everyone departed the field with mixed emotions of pride and disappointment.
When asked about his final thoughts, Krishan Patel (#10) said, “We’ve had a good season with 14-0-1. It was a first undefeated season for this school. We made history.”
The Jaguars finished the sea- son with a record of 14-0-1 in the regular season, and 5-0-1 in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Asso- ciation (GCAA) earning the best record in the conference. The team also had its best season in school history with one of the top three best records in the nation for Di- vision I Soccer in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
“We started a little slow, and then got back in the game,” Blake (#17) stated after the game. “It was our own mistakes. We missed a lot of opportunities, but we did overcome them. Unfortunately the game just finished that way.”
The team would have been one of the favorites to win the national championship this year. However, the conclusion of this year will leave the team and their sup- porters with the question of what could have been, if the team had not been banned from playing in the postseason for the 2014 sea- son.
This is the result of the one- year probation sentence the pro- gram is serving after the NJCAA determined the school provided illegal benefits to certain players during the 2013 season.
The game itself provided the audience with an ironic story that was a symbolic of the roller coaster of emotions the team went through this season.
The trouble started for the Jags when the Cavs center midfielder Kevyn Macfarlane (#11) scored the first goal of the game in the tenth minute with an assist to forward Darwin Espinal (#10).
The Jags would even the game seven minutes later when forward Patel (#10) knocked in his goal to tie the game 1-1. The two teams remained in a defensive battle for the remainder of the half until the whistle signaled for halftime.
In the second half, Cavalier midfielder Matt Treumun (#5) scored in a rocket shot in the first hour giving Darton State the 2-1 lead.
GPC then played the equalizer in the middle of the game as for- ward Anel Ramic (#13) tied the game at 2-2 with his goal.
“We had some [opportunities] we gave away in the second half,
We had two sloppy goals we gave away, and we should have won eas- ily,” said Patel reflecting on what made the difference for the game. “In the second half of extra time we hit the post twice and obvi- ously it’s not been our day today.”
During the two ten-minute session of over time the Jaguars found opportunities to end their historic year with a 15th consecu- tive victory.The team missed all of their opportunities from shooting at open nets to missing the goal when the ball hit the posts and the crossbar late in the game.
However, GPC’s goalie Kekuta Jatta (#00) outperformed Trevor Newton from Darton state by having 12 saves in the game in contrast to 0 for Newton.
After the final whistle blew, the teams shook hands, and the Jaguars walked back to the bench exhausted.
There was some relief that the Jags had been able to save their perfect season with the tie. The Jags were also able to finish the season with a bittersweet and historic conclusion.
For now the Jaguars will have to get past their disappointment of this season’s emotional roller coaster, and begin to prepare for the 2015 season when they will have their postseason eligibility back.
12 of the 17 players on the team are freshman meaning the team could be seen as a favorite to be crowned the 2015 national champions.
“It’s a shame we can’t go to nationals, but we can only move on now,” Patel explained with his gratitude. “I’ve met a great group of lads who hopefully can carry on next year, and good luck to all of them.”
At the end of the day Coach Zagura summed up what the team’s mentality is as the 2014 season is placed behind them, “We’re done for now we just have to come back next year.”