RALEIGH, N.C. -- Richard Bland College claimed its first-ever Region X Men's Soccer Tournament Championship on Sunday evening at the WRAL Soccer Park in Raleigh, North Carolina. The No. 5 seed Statesmen battled No. 2 seed Spartanburg (S.C.) Methodist to a 1-1 double-overtime tie, before Richard Bland won the title in a PK Shootout, 4-2. Freshman Peter Diawuo/Alexandria scored the lone goal in regulation for the victorious Statesmen (12-6-2). Richard Bland advances to the 2016 NJCAA Division I Southeast District Championship on November 4-5, hosted by Daytona State College in Daytona Beach, Florida ... the official district pairings and game times to be determined.
"Today, our student-athletes proved their determination, their will to win and their faith in the quote 'Don't give up, Don't ever give up!'," said third-year head coach Eduardo de Souza. "Our guys deserved to be the champions and we couldn't be more proud of them."
Richard Bland led 1-0 at the intermission against Spartanburg Methodist after Diawuo scored on a free kick in the 40th minute, placing his kick into the top right corner of the net. It remained a 1-0 advantage until the Pioneers scored in the 80th minute to tie the contest and force the extra periods. Neither team was able to score during the two 10-minute overtime periods, which sent the contest to a penalty-kick shootout to determine the Region 10 winner.
In the dramatic shootout, freshman Dusan Stankovic/Belgrade, Serbia connected on the first attempt for Richard Bland. Statesmen freshman goalkeeper Justin Ennis/Gainesville, however, stopped the first attempt taken by Spartanburg Methodist. Freshman Augustin Vassallo/Neuquen, Argentina followed with a successful attempt on the second PK, which the Pioneers made, as well. Diawuo converted another successful PK on attempt number three, as did SMC. Sophomore Bryce Deitrich/Farmville took the fourth and decisive PK attempt and found the back of the net, while the Pioneers missed wide right, to provide for the final 4-2 margin in the shootout, advancing Richard Bland to the Southeast District Tournament as the Region Champions.
Ennis started in front of the net for Richard Bland and played the entire 110 minutes, making six saves while allowing the one goal.
Richard Bland took a 19-12 advantage in shots against Spartanburg Methodist, including 11-7 in attempts on goal. The Statesmen had a 3-2 edge in corner kicks.
Richard Bland will carry a new school-record of 12-6-2 into its first-ever NJCAA Southeast District Championship next weekend in Florida. The Statesmen are now 8-2-2 in their last 12 contests.