2005-2006 NJCAA Division I National Champions
Jaguars scorch net in big win
In their ninth match of the season, the Georgia Perimeter defensive-minded men's soccer team turned offensive.
The Jaguars exploded for a half-dozen goalsâ€”including two by freshman striker Colin Newmeyerâ€”to defeat Young Harris College 6-3 in a crucial Georgia Junior College Athletic Association contest Tuesday on GPC's home field.
In doing so, Georgia Perimeter (7-1-1, 4-0 GJCAA) took the lead in the North Division of the conference and established itself as the team to beat in the region. The Mountain Lions (7-2, 4-1) also entered the game with a single defeat on its record.
"It was a better effort. We played hard for 60 out of the 90 minutes. It was a step in the right direction," said head coach Marc Zagara two days after a disappointing 1-1 tie against Spartanburg Methodist College.
"I would not call it good soccer, however," he added. "When someone scores three goals on us, it is not good soccer."
Trailing 1-0 midway in the first half, the Jaguar's Antonio Casas evened the score with an assist by Qassimlu Hamad. Late in the period, Bediako Swan and Yeong Choi scored to give GPC a 3-1 cushion at the intermission. Paulo Amorim and Mike Mecerod respectively chalked up assists on the goals.
The Mountain Lions shrunk the gap with a goal early in the second half. But Mecerod answered quickly, scoring on a pass from Flavio Souza to put Georgia Perimeter up 4-2.
Newmeyer then gave GPC some welcome insurance with two goals, aided by Anderson Rico and Casas.
The Jaguars converted on nearly half of their 13 shots on the net. At the other end, Jon Foley saved eight of 11 Young Harris attempts.
GPC kicks back for a week before resuming with a conference game next Tuesday, Sept. 30, against Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland, Ga., beginning at 3 p.m. Then the Jaguars continue their road trip with a game at Darton College on Oct. 4 and a grudge match at Young Harris on Oct. 9. Their next home game will be on Oct. 14 against Gordon College.
The Jaguars' home soccer games are played at GPC's Dunwoody Campus, 2101 Womack Road in Dunwoody.Sept. 21, 2008
Spartanburg surprises Jaguars 1-1
The first out-of-state game of the season left the Georgia Perimeter College men's soccer team in a state of frustration.
The Jaguars, despite a better offensive showing, tied Spartanburg Methodist College 1-1 on Sunday in South Carolina, scoring only on a penalty kick by Mike Mecerod.
GPC aimed a dozen shots, nearly twice as many shots as the unranked Pioneers (3-1-2), but could not scratch other than the uncontested penalty boot after Mecerod was taken down in the box during the first half. GPC keeper Julian Garcia went the distance, allowing a goal and stopping six potential others.
GPC assistant coach Ron Moore said he was disappointed in the match, saying the Jaguars played well short of their collective ability.
"A tie is better than a loss, I guess," said Moore, who expects the Jaguars to drop from their No. 5 ranking in the National Junior College Athletic Association rankings.
Georgia Perimeter has little time to bounce back before confronting Young Harris College at 4 p.m. Tuesday on GPC's Dunwoody Campus in a critical Georgia Junior College Athletic Association game. The Jaguars (6-1-1, 3-0 GJCAA) and Young Harris (7-1, 4-0) are tied for first place in the North Division of the GJCAA (Region 17) standings.
The Jaguars' home soccer games are played at GPC's Dunwoody Campus, 2101 Womack Road in Dunwoody.Sept. 18, 2008
GPC defense stymies Gordon
In a dominating performance that was not reflected in the final score, the Georgia Perimeter College men's soccer team downed Gordon College 2-0 in a Georgia Junior College Athletic Association match on Thursday in Barnesville.
The more telling numbers: 19-1. Those were shots on goal. Jaguars goalkeeper Jon Foley needed to make only a single save.
"This was a total team effort," assistant coach Ron Moore said. "We finally played good soccer; we just couldn't score like we want to."
GPC got their goals about a minute apart in the first half. Anderson Rico scored off a pass from Emmanuel Barriyiga. Then Rico and Colin Newmeyer both assisted on a bulls-eye by Paulo Amorim.
Ranked fifth in the latest NJCAA poll, the Jaguars (6-1, 3-0 GJCAA) were able to use nearly their entire roster as Gordon never threatened to close the gap.
The team travels out of state this weekend to Spartanburg (S.C.) Methodist College for a Sunday match at 1 p.m.
Then they host Young Harris College on Tuesday, Sept. 23, at GPC's Dunwoody Campus. The Jaguars and Young Harris (6-1, 3-0 GJCAA) stand in first and second place, respectively, in the North Division Region 17 (GJCAA) standings.
The Jaguars' home soccer games are played at GPC's Dunwoody Campus, 2101 Womack Road in Dunwoody.Sept. 13, 2008
Mecerod powers Jaguars past Tri-County
The Georgia Perimeter College men's soccer team can return to the National Junior College Athletic Association championship game this season if every Jaguar could be like Mike.
Mike Mecerod had two assists, one game-winning goal and one head gash to highlight the defending national runner-up's 3-2 win Saturday over Tri-County Technical College on the Dunwoody Campus.
In the first half, which ended with the visiting Hawks ahead 1-0, Mecerod sustained a cut on his forehead from a head butt. Wearing a wrap applied by the trainer, he returned to the game and assisted on two goals by Julio Anzueto within three minutes early in the second period.
Mecerod then broke a 2-2 tie after he weaved into the box and was taken down for a penalty. He converted with 28 minutes left to close out the scoring.
"Mike played like a warrior," GPC assistant coach Ron Moore said of the sophomore forward, who required stitches after the match.
As for the team, the Jaguars outshot their guests 22-5, with winning goalkeeper Julian Garcia turning aside three attempts. Still, Moore said, "We have a lot of work to do," a theme so far this season for the squad.
The Jaguars (5-1) go back to work Tuesday with a home conference game against Georgia Military College at 4 p.m. in Dunwoody. GPC goes into the match with a 2-0 record in the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association.
The Jaguars' home soccer games are played at GPC's Dunwoody Campus, 2101 Womack Road in Dunwoody.Sept. 11, 2008
Defense, Mecerod stop Warriors
DEE-fense. That was the rallying cry for the Georgia Perimeter College men's soccer team last season in its march to the National Junior College Athletic Association championship game. And the Jaguars have picked up where they left off.
GPC collected its fourth shutout in five matches Thursday, stifling Middle Georgia College 1-0 on the Dunwoody Campus. Goalkeeper Jon Foley required three saves, all in the second half, for his third win.
In the 27th minute of the second half, sophomore striker Mike Mecerod cut a shot from the left side through a defender and the MGC goalkeeper. It seared the right corner of the net for the game's only goal. Emmanuel Barriyiga earned the assist with a crisp cross to Mecerod.
The Jaguars' lone goal allowed this season cost them their only defeat, 1-0 to Tyler (Texas) Junior College.
GPC (4-1, 2-0 GJCAA) fired eight shots on goal against Middle Georgia.
"We won and picked up another shutout," head coach Marc Zagara said. "We'll continue to build from that and work to be a better team each week."
The next potential building block comes Saturday with a game against Tri-County College at 1 p.m. on GPC's Dunwoody Campus.
The Jaguars' home soccer games are played at GPC's Dunwoody Campus, 2101 Womack Road in Dunwoody.Sept. 6, 2008
GPC blanks Andrew
The Georgia Perimeter College men's soccer team rebounded from its first regular season loss in two years with a resounding 4-0 win Saturday over Andrew College in Cuthbert.
The Jaguars aced their first road test of the season, outshooting the hosts 12-2, while bettering their record to 3-1, 1-0 in the Georgia Junior College Athletic Association.
Julian Garcia earned the shutout in goal for GPC. Anderson Rico and Bedi Swan collected a goal and an assist apiece. Rico opened the scoring by striking in the 21st minute on a delivery from Mike Jennings, then served up Colin Newmeyer at the start of the second half.
Swan tallied on an assist by Yeong Choi before returning the favor to a teammate on the final GPC goal, passing to Flavio Souza.
"It was a total team performance," assistant coach Ron Moore said, adding, "But we're still not where we want to be."
The Jaguars are back home at the Dunwoody Campus on Thursday, facing Middle Georgia College at 2 p.m. in the first leg of a doubleheader that concludes with the women's match between the same schools.
The Jaguars' home soccer games are played at GPC's Dunwoody Campus, 2101 Womack Road in Dunwoody.Sept. 1, 2008
No. 9 Tyler nips No. 2 Jaguars
A presidential campaign nearly 170 years ago produced one of the most famous phrases in American politics: "Tippecanoe and Tyler too."
There is no school called Tippecanoe on the GPC men's soccer team schedule, but Tyler Junior College visited the Jaguars on Labor Day in an election year and was a winner on all ballots.
Tyler slipped by Georgia Perimeter 1-0 on the Dunwoody Campus in a match-up of teams ranked in the Top Ten in the National Junior College Athletic Association coaches' poll.
It was the Jaguars' first regular season loss in two years.
The No. 9 Apaches converted a penalty kick in the 33rd minute, and the goal held up over No. 2 GPC (2-1) during a highly physical game. Freshman midfielder Harry Machacha kicked the penalty goal for Tyler.
The guests controlled play, outshooting the Jaguars 14-3. GPC's busy goalkeeper, Julian Garcia, turned back 13 shots, while his teammates could launch only three.
"Julian had two brilliant saves," said head coach Marc Zagara. "This is the fewest goals we've ever given up in a Labor Day tournament. We're just not developing plays at midfield."
"Our defense did a good job against a powerful offense," added assistant coach Ron Moore. He noted that Richard Cayonne, Mike Jennings and Fode Diallo turned in especially strong performances in support of Garcia.
The game capped a three-team tournament hosted by GPC over the holiday weekend. Tyler (4-1) defeated Louisburg 5-0 Sunday at the Dunwoody Campus, and on Saturday the Jaguars managed a 1-0 victory over Louisburg (2-2). GPC's coaches agreed it was a good weekend of soccer against the No. 8 and No. 9 teams in the country.
"We're not where we should be in November, but this is September," Zagara said.
The Jaguars were scheduled to play their third game in four days on Tuesday against Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, but the game was postponed because of a player shortage for GMC. Instead, GPC hits the road for the first time Saturday against Andrew College in Cuthbert, Ga.
The Jaguars' home soccer games are played at GPC's Dunwoody Campus, 2101 Womack Road in Dunwoody.August 30, 2008
GPC shuts out No. 8 Louisburg
The Georgia Perimeter College Jaguars opened their holiday invitational tournament with a second shutout victory in as many games, but it was another nervous day for the GPC men's soccer team. The Jaguars hung on against Louisburg (N.C.) 1-0 Saturday on the Dunwoody Campus, pushing their record to 2-0 despite a pair of tepid offensive performances.
Ranked No. 2 in the National Junior College Athletic Association preseason poll, GPC got the only goal it needed from freshman striker Flavio Souza. Bediako Swan assisted with a pass toward the top of the box to Souza, who bent a shot past the Louisburg goalkeeper and into the net during the 37th minute.
It was one of only six shots for the Jaguars, same as the visitors launched. GPC goalkeeper Jonathan Foley accumulated five saves for his second shutout.
"Louisburg was a physical team. It was a team effort that won it for us," said GPC head coach Marc Zagara. The Hurricanes (2-1) came into the tournament ranked No. 8 in the NJCAA poll.
The home team benefited from a stout defense. Among others, Moore noted the effort by midfielder Mike Jennings, who was shifted to the back line this season. The Jaguars needed it, given their string of failed scoring chances in the first half.
GPC completes its holiday tournament with a noon kickoff at home on Labor Day against Tyler (Tex.) Junior College. The Apaches are ranked ninth in the NJCAA poll.
The Jaguars' home soccer games are played at GPC's Dunwoody Campus, 2101 Womack Road in Dunwoody.August 23, 2008
Jaguars slip by South Georgia in opener
A halftime wakeup call roused the slow-starting Georgia Perimeter College men's soccer team, which downed South Georgia College 2-0 Saturday in its season opener at GPC's Dunwoody Campus.
The Jaguars (1-0), ranked second in the National Junior College Athletic Association poll, fired only two shots at the Tigers in the first half. Meanwhile, GPC's defense similarly stifled South Georgia (0-1) until the Tigers managed the first shot nineteen minutes into the game.
Georgia Perimeter began to gel after the break, finally striking in the 23rd minute on a goal by freshman forward Flavia Souza with an assist from freshman Julio Anzueto. Then two of the three sophomores in the lineup teamed up in the 58th minute, Mike Mecerod feeding Bediako Swan for a two-goal cushion.
The Jaguars were outshot 9-6 as freshman goalkeeper Jonathan Foley fended off four of the Tigers' attempts.
"We didn't look very good," said GPC head coach Marc Zagara. "We looked better in the second half, but we weren't good."
Assistant coach Ron Moore added, "We won, but we've got a lot of work to do."
The rough start could be expected after a roster turnover that has resulted in eight freshman starters. In addition, the Jaguars employed seven freshmen among the eight reserves Saturday.
GPC's defense is coping with the loss of last year's All-America goalkeeper Jon Selkow, and Lance DaCosta, an All-America sweeper who returned home to Jamaica for family reasons after completing summer courses. The good news is that the defense stopped South Georgia's midfielder Sean Howe, an impressive import from Great Britain, and forward David Hunter, the Tigers' second-leading scorer last season.
Both of Georgia Perimeter's soccer teams have a double date Tuesday at the Dunwoody Campus with Georgia Junior College Athletic Association foe Truett-McConnell College. The men's game begins at 3 p.m., followed by the women's game at 5 p.m.
The Jaguars' home soccer games are played at GPC's Dunwoody Campus, 2101 Womack Road in Dunwoody.August 22, 2008
Jaguars' goal: net national title
In 2004, the Georgia Perimeter College men's soccer team advanced to the program's first National Junior College Athletic Association title match, only to lose 3-1 against Mercer County (N.J.) Community College.
When the Jaguars returned to the nationals a year later, "There were no ifs, ands or buts with them," coach Marc Zagara recalls. "They were going to win it."
They did, beating Yavapai (Ariz.) College 3-1.
Zagara hopes for a repeat of history this season. The Jaguars fell to Yavapai in an excruciating 2007 championship game on penalty kicks following a 3-3 tie, dampening a dream season that ended at 21-1-2.
"It was a successful season," Zagara said of the 2007 national runner-up, his 16th team at GPC. "But there's no denying the disappointment in not finishing the deal."
The Jaguars can play "Let's Finish the Deal" this time, he believes, beginning with the opener Aug. 23 against South Georgia College on GPC's Dunwoody campus.
Validating those aspirations are plenty of returning Jaguars eager to purge the sour after-taste and a roster replenished with a gifted freshmen class.
"We're going to be more talented this year," Zagara says. "Whether they have the heart, the desire, of last year's team remains to be seen. Talent is 75 percent of the equation."
The '07 Jaguars were a dogged bunch with a barely penetrable defensive midfield, a superb goalkeeper and a focus that never wavered even as the squad became depleted by injuries.
Eight players, including all six active sophomores, earned scholarships from four-year schools, which is Zagara's annual measuring stick for success. Numerous contributors are back on board; they are supplemented by "one of our better recruiting classes, talent-wise."
There are some disappointments. All-America Sweeper Lance DaCosta of Jamaica most likely won't be aboard for personal reasons. The Jaguars' equally decorated goalkeeper, Jon Selkow, succumbed to academic ineligibility. Top assist producer Cesar Tejara will be redshirted.
The Jaguars limited foes to nine goals last year until the national semifinals, when their allotment jumped to 13 by season's end. The DaCosta/Selkow combo was most responsible for the stinginess.
But the Jaguars' two prolific scorers, strikers Mike Mecerod of Long Island, N.Y., and Bediako Swan of Grenada, are on hand to give it another go. Mecerod, a national All-Tournament Team selection, had 20 goals and 12 assists; Swan had 18 and seven.
Honorable Mention All-America midfielder Marcelo Aguirre, gone with his diploma, will be missed, but there's a bountiful crop of incoming replacements. The cast includes Eder Molina and Yeong Choi, leading a parade from the Miami area. They also can help fill the void left by the redshirting of Tejara.
In goal, quality gives way to quantity as Zagara fills Selkow's shoes with four new keepers, the most ever during his term. Two were recruited, the other pair sought an audition.
"We won't be as solid without Jon," Zagara says, "but all four are very good."
With three championship appearances in four years, GPC has become a go-to destination for graduating high school seniors. Zagara has mined South Florida for a while and has recently made inroads with prospects in fertile metro Atlanta.
The recruiting net was cast this year as far as Colorado, capturing goalkeeper Jonathan Foley. Now that the Jaguars have made four consecutive trips to the NJCAA tournament, the coach has gone from pounding on prospects' doors to being flooded with requests for a uniform and scholarship money.
The trend should continue as GPC received a No. 2 preseason NJCAA national ranking, behind defending champion Yavapai. To prepare for the postseason, Zagara has lined up a typically scary nonregion schedule that includes perennial powers Tyler Junior College (Texas), San Jacinto South (Texas) and Louisburg (N.C.).
As always, the modest team goal is a ticket to the eight-team nationals field. There, the Jaguars are assured attention from four-year colleges.
"It's great exposure for the kids," Zagara says. "If we win it, that's even better."
No ifs, ands or buts there.