November 19, 2004
Fifth-seeded Mesa Community College drew a tough and unbeaten opponent in the NJCAA Division I women’s soccer national tournament opener, and are now 0-3 in national tourney appearances because of it.
Playing short-handed much of the match, the Thunderbirds fell to No. 4 seed Schoolcraft (Mich.), 3-1, at Phoenix’s Rose Mofford Sports Complex on Thursday. MCC will try to win its next two matches and finish as high as fifth.
It takes on eighth-seeded Navarro (Texas) College at 2 p.m. today. Navarro nearly defeated topranked and top-seeded Monroe (N.Y.) CC, falling 3-2.
In other matches, Young Harris (Ga.) beat The Community College of Baltimore County-Catonsville (Md.) 4-2 and Lewis & Clark (Ill.) edged Dixie State (Utah) 1-0.
"They scored their first two shots on us," MCC coach Tim Barmettler said.
"That’s not what we expected."
Leading scorer Nicole Saigh delivered a pair of wellplaced shots on Schoolcraft’s first two trips up the field. Her drive from 20 yards out beat Thunderbirds goalkeeper Kim Kukla early in the contest.
She later gave Schoolcraft (22-0) a 2-1 lead with a 25-foot drive that appeared to fool Kukla in the match’s 26th minute.
Mesa’s Ashley Hale tied the match on a penalty kick after Michelle Martinez was fouled in the box.
Barmettler and the Thunderbirds (17-4) were forced to play short-handed when Sarah Nelson was given a red card in the first half.