When RCGC's Region XIX champion women's soccer team arrived in Dryden, NY for the start of the NJCAA Division III National Championship Tournament on Nov. 9, their opponents had no idea what to expect.
While they received a No. 6 seed, coach Megan Ruttler's team played at a much higher level, finishing No. 4 overall in the nation following Sunday's 1-1 tie against Delta (MI) in the third place consolation game. Delta earned the No. 3 spot via penalty kicks.
The Roadrunners received an early first half goal from sophomore Ashley Engler (Williamstown) to take a quick 1-0 lead. But Delta's Skyler Eckert booted home a goal to tie the score at 1-1 with about nine minutes remaining in regulation and force a penalty kicks period to decide the outcome. Delta won on PKs by a 5-4 margin to end a hard-fought and well-played contest by both squads.
Engler was selected for the All-Tournament Team for her solid play over the past several days. Against Delta, she collected three shots on goal while teammate Victoria Flynn (Clearview) also fired three shots on goal.
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Earlier in the tournament, the Roadrunners upset No. 3 seed Erie CC (NY) by a 2-0 score before losing a national semifinal to eventual champion Brookhaven (TX) by a 3-0 count. RCGC had been behind just 1-0 at halftime.
"We came up here and we beat a higher-seeded team in Erie, and then we played competitively with Brookhaven, which eventually won the national championship," said Ruttler. "We also had a great opportiunity to beat Delta today.
"People didn't know what to make of us when we got here, but we showed we belong. I'm proud of our players."
RCGC finished with an 18-3-1 overall record for the 2017 season, one of the finest campaigns in Ruttler's eight-year career. They entered the tournament with a No. 10 national ranking by the NJCAA, but clearly showed they were good enough to play among the best teams in the country.
"We represented ourselves and the school well," said Ruttler. "I want to thank our players for a great 2017 season."
National Semfinal Results
After winnng their opening round match, the RCGC women's soccer team had no answer for No. 2 seeded Brookhaven College in Friday's national semifinal round during the NJCAA Division III Championships in Dryden, NY.
The Roadrunners were outshot by an 18-1 margin in dropping a 3-0 decision to the Lady Bears and falling into the losers' bracket of the tournament.
Brookhaven received two goals by Deshae Darrell, who had five shots in the game, and one goal by forward Savanna Hernandez. The winners fired a total of 18 shots on RCGC goalkeeper Jenni DeVault.
The Roadrunners (18-3), meanwhile, had just one shot on goal, coming from
freshman Megan Lord. They fell behind 1-0 at halftime before the Lady Bears netted two goals in the second half to seal the outcome.
Coach Megan Ruttler's team will now face Delta (MI) in a third place game on Sunday at 12:30 pm. Brookhaven will top-seeded Herkimer Community College (NY) for the national crown, also on Sunday.
Opening Round: RCGC Tops Erie CC (NY)
The first-round jinx has finally been conquered by the RCGC women's soccer team! And in the process the Roadrunners sent an important message to the remaining teams in the NJCAA Division Women's Soccer National Championship Tournament on Thursday -- they are for real!
Sophomore Ashley Engler scored a goal 15 minutes into the game and sophomore Victoria Flynn added a second goal moments later with an assist from freshman Megan Lord to help No. 6 seed RCGC defeat No. 3 Erie County College (NY) 2-0 in the opening round of the D-III National Championship Tournament at Tompkins Cortland Community College's Panther Stadium.
"This win is validation for us -- now we know, and so does everyone else, that we are for real," said head coach Megan Ruttler, who recorded win No. 101 in her eight-year career. "I'm proud of how we played. We really took it to them in the first half, and it set the tone."
The win also marked the Runners' first opening-round triumph in the national tournament since 2012, when they finished as runnerup. "We haven't played well in this tournament for a long-time, so this feels special," Ruttler said.
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.
"They are a very athletic and composed team, so we know what to expect," said Ruttler. "Brookhaven will be a very formidable opponent."
The Roadrunners improved to 18-2 overall with the triumph.
In the other quarterfinal games, top-seed Herkimer CC (NY) beat No. 8 Nassau, 4-2, and No. 4 Delta (MI) blanked No. 5 seed Madison (WI) 2-0. Herkimer will square off against Delta at 3 pm Friday in the other national semifinal. The championship game will be played Sunday, Nov. 12 at 3 pm.
The RCGC women's soccer team is ready for action as the NJCAA Division III National Championships kick off Thursday, Nov. 9, at Tompkins Cortland Community College's Panther Stadium in Dryden, NY.
Coach Megan Ruttler's squad, which captured the Region XIX title with a 4-0 whitewashing of Brookdale Community College on Oct. 31 in Berkekley Heights, NJ, has earned the No. 6 seed in the national tournament.
They will square off against No. 3 seed Erie Community College (NY) at 5:30 pm, with the survivor advancing to play the winner of No. 2 Brookhaven (TX) vs. No. 7 Montgomery (MD) on Friday, Nov. 10.
"Right now we are focused soley on winning that opening round game, which we haven't done in recent years," said Ruttler, whose team lost their first two games in last season's national tournament. "We're playing well right now, but we will need to prove ourselves in the national tournament."
The Roadrunners captured the school's seventh Region XIX Championship and in the process handed Coach Megan Ruttler her 100th career victory in what proved to be a memorable afternoon in RCGC Athletics. Ruttler is the winningest women's soccer coach in RCGC history. The Runners, 17-2 overall, are No. 10 in the latest NJCAA Division III National Rankings.
The Roadrunners feature a lineup with many talented offensive and defensive standouts, including freshman Megan Lord (Glassboro) and sophomores Ashley Engler (Williamstown) and Victoria Flynn (Clearview), all of whom have collected more than 40 points each in offensive production. Sophomore Jenni DeVault is one of the nation's top goalkeepers with 12 shutouts and a 16-2 record.
RCGC has advanced to the national finals twice, in 2007 and in 2012. Freshman Madelyn Buchanan (Williamstown), who scored a goal in the Region XIX title game, hopes her team is prepared to advance deep into the tourney once again.
"Our team keeps improving all the time, and we don't always receive the credit we should," said Buchanan. "We hope to show our RCGC pride in the national tournament."
Stay right here to follow the NJCAA Division III Women's Soccer National Tournament @RCGCAthletics and make sure to root on the Roadrunners!