Sophomore back Jessica Starke (Riverside) has quietly played a solid role all season in the success of the RCGC women's soccer team, which has compiled an impressive 18-2 overall record to date under head coach Megan Ruttler.
On Thursday night, Starke delivered one of her finest moments on a national stage -- and she is thrilled to contribute!
Sophomore Ashley Engler scored a goal 15 minutes into the game and sophomore Victoria Flynn added a second goal moments later to help No. 6 seed RCGC defeat No. 3 Erie County College (NY) 2-0 in the opening round of the NJCAA Division III National Championship Tournament at Tompkins Cortland Community College's Panther Stadium.
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Starke recorded an assist on the goal by Engler, which gave the Roadrunners a momentum surge to start this critical contest. She also played a solid two-way game to help RCGC to its first opening-round playoff win in a national tournament since 2012.
"Jess has shown steady improvement all season, and tonight she played very well," said Ruttler. "She and her teammates were aggressive in the first half, and that got us off to a great start."
The RCGC sophomore was more than happy to contribute.
"It meant a lot to me that one of my passes helped set up a big goal for us," she said. "When we had that early lead, it just gave me and everyone else a lot of confidence."
RCGC will next face No. 2 seed Brookhaven (TX), a 3-0 winner over No. 7 Montgomery (MD), on Friday in a national semifinal match starting at 5:30 p.m. The Roadrunners lost to Brookhaven in last season's national tournament at Ocean County College.
"We want to keep our momentum going," Starke added. "We're excited about winning a game against a great team like Erie, and we're ready for the next round!"
Stay right here to follow the NJCAA Division III National Tournament @RCGCAthletics and make sure to root on the Roadrunners!