They showed up -- Wow, did they ever! The RCGC Women's Soccer team rolled past Brookdale Community College 4-0 Tuesday at Snyder Park in Berekely Heights, NJ to capture the NJCAA Region XIX Championship, and the Runners dominated simply by playing a solid game from from start to finish.
In the process the Roadrunners handed Coach Megan Ruttler her 100th career victory in what proved to be a memorable afternoon in RCGC Athletics. The win also marked the seventh Region XIX championship in the history of the women's soccer program and clinched a berth in next week's National Championship Tournament in Dryden, NY.
"It's an honor to win my 100th game and a region championship at the same time," said Ruttler, an eighth-year coach whose team finished as NJCAA National runnerup in 2012. "These young ladies deserve this title today -- they earned it. At the same time, many players have contributed to our success at RCGC through the years, and it's great to reflect. on this."
Standout freshman Megan Lord netted two goals and sophomore Ashley Engler added another score to help the Runners out to a 3-0 halftime advantage. Freshman Madelyn Buchanan added a second-half goal while goalkeeper Jenni DeVault recorded the shutout to preserve the win. Lord was selected as the game's Most Valuable Player while Shanna Bryson was chosen as Defensive Player of the Game.
Engler also opened up several potential scoring opportunities while Buchanan collected a goal and an assist.
Ruttler's team had faced the Jersey Blues in a regular season contest in September, winning easily 4-0 -- however, this triumph had a completely different feel.
"We had a tough first half in the regular season game before we came back to win it," Ruttler commented. "Today, we showed up. We were attacking at the opening whistle. We stayed aggressive. We weren't going to be denied, and you knew it right away."
Photo Highlights of Region XIX Championship Game
While the entire team performed well, Ruttler was particularly happy with efforts from Engler and Buchanan. "Ashley was all over the field and created lot of scoring opportunites," Ruttler said. "Madelyn (Buchanan) also had a great game, and we're proud of her efforts."
Buchanan, who played scholastic soccer at Williamstown High, enjoyed playing a key role in the victory.
"We really deserved to win today, and I'm thrilled to have have contributed," she commented. "Our team keeps improving all the time, and we don't always receive the credit we should. We're excited to win Region XIX."
The Roadrunners now advance to the NJCAA National Championship Tournament , which will be played November 9-12 at Tompkins Cortland Community College's Panther Stadium in Dryden, NY.
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.
Photo (this page): Head Coach Megan Ruttler (center) celebrates the Region XIX title and her 100th career win with Assistant Coaches Julie Chini-Dundee (left) and Liz Faulkner (right).
Photo (home web page): The RCGC Women's Soccer team receives the Region XIX Championship trophy on Tuesday.
Championship Game Preview
The NJCAA Region XIX Women's Soccer Championship game between RCGC and Brookdale Community College has been rescheduled to Tuesday, October 31, at Snyder Park in Berkely Heights, NJ starting at 2:30 pm.
The No. 1 seeded Roadrunners, who beat the Jersey Blues by a 4-0 score in the regular season, will not only try and secure a second straight regional title, but will also look to help Coach Megan Ruttler grab career win No. 100. With 99 career victories, Ruttler is the winningest coach in RCGC women's soccer history.
RCGC has enjoyed a solid season too. The Runners' 7-0 triumph over Northampton County College (PA) in the Regional semifinals last week boosted their overall record to a lofty 16-2 this Fall. Ruttler's team is No. 10 in the NJCAA Division III National Rankings.
The Roadrunners feature a lineup with many talented offensive and defensive standouts, including freshman Megan Lord and sophomores Ashley Engler and Victoria Flynn, 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 11 shutouts and a 15-2 record.
Other key players for the Runners include McKenna Dowd, Josie O'Donnell, Madelyn Buchanan, Shanna Bryson and Natalie Guarracino.
"The players have been aggressive on the attack, and they're ready for a game like this," said Ruttler. "We've played tough competition all season, and all of our game experience and practice have really paid off."
Brookdale finished with an 8-6-2 overall record, and will nonetheless pose a tough threat due to the fierce rivalry between the two schools.
"We have a great rivalry with Brookdale and it will be exciting," said Engler, a former Williamstown High star. "I was a little nervous playing Brookdale earlier in the season, but now that we've seen them, we're more confident."
Stay right here to follow the Region XIX Tournament @RCGCAthletics and make sure to root on the Roadrunners!
GPS Address for NJCAA Region 19 Championship Match:
Snyder Ave Park Turf Field
216 Snyder Ave
Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922