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 October 30, 2012


Bunker Hill CC 0 Manchester CC 0 (2 OT) Bunker Hill CC advances on penalty kicks

MANCHESTER, CT – The two New England rivals traded punches like heavyweights for 110 minutes without a ball crossing a goal line, but Bunker Hill CC (18-2-1) scored four goals in the penalty kick round to Manchester CC’s two, and claimed the 2012 Region 21, Division III men’s soccer title.

Bunker Hill moves on to the NJCAA Division III National Championship Tournament in Herkimer, NY November 8-11. Manchester CC (12-7-1) and Bunker Hill have met in the Region 21 (New England) championship game five straight years with MCC winning three titles (’08, ’09 and ’11) and Bunker Hill taking two (’10 and ’12).

“You could see both teams had a game plan,” Bunker Hill head coach Scott Benjamin said. “We moved the ball the way we wanted to and they tried to counter really quickly, and they did.”

MCC first-year head coach Darren Foster, who was a player on MCC’s 2002 Region 21 championship team and an NJCAA All-American in 2004, was proud of his team’s accomplishments during the season after an 0-4 start and how it performed in the championship game against one of the top D III teams in the country.

“We knew our work was going to be cut out for us as BHCC was a powerhouse, ranking number three in the nation,” Foster said. “We shut down the region’s top scorer and also other players that had emerged on their team.”

The MCC defense kept Vladimir Mead (Roslindale, MA) and Marcus Linbjork (Lidkoping, Sweden), who came into the game with 19 and nine goals respectively, off the board.

BHCC goalkeeper freshman Estive Sosa (Revere, MA) made 14 saves, including a bullet from Mark Grant (Coventry, CT/Tokyo, Japan) from 15 feet away with just over six minutes to play in regulation that seemed to temporarily knock the wind out of him.

“I think that’s the best game he has played all year,’’ Benjamin said of his keeper. “He came up big on three big saves during the game and then the PKs.”

MCC goalkeeper Steve German (Coventry, CT) was outstanding in goal while making 13 saves over 110 scoreless minutes, and his backline, consisting of Eric Fleeher (Coventry, CT), Kwasi Boateng (East Hartford, CT), Joey Plude (East Haddam, CT) and Edgar Hernandez (Windham, CT) were busy all afternoon clearing balls and disrupting the Bunker Hill offense.

Chris Grant (Hartford) and Danilo Rivera (East Hartford, CT) scored for MCC during the PK round, but Sosa reacted quickly and blocked a Tyler Jones (Rockville, CT) shot that was heading for the net, just under the crossbar, to clinch the victory. Jordan Wright (Austin, TX), Marcus Pizetti (Malden, MA), Pedro DaSilva (Dorchester, MA) and Mead scored on PKs for BHCC.

Benjamin noted the work of Boateng, who had a foot or head on nearly every ball that crossed the center line.

“He was winning all the balls we were trying to send through in the air” Benjamin said of Boateng. I thought their back line did well.”

Despite the disappointment of having his first season as a head coach at the collegiate level end prematurely, Foster had no complaints.

“The season turned out to be a great one,” Foster said. “(Assistant) coach (Levi) Brown and myself were blessed to have a great group of student-athletes who bought into our futbol club. They wanted it as much as we did and are a great bunch of guys. Each player understood his role and most importantly, they believed in themselves and believed in the team.”

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