MCC battles for fourth place
By By Jeff Byrd/The Meridian Star
Nov. 18, 2001
TYLER, Texas Soccer Sunday at the NJCAA Men's Division I National Tournament will see Yavapai Community College of Prescott, Arz., battle Byrant &Stratton of Syracuse, N.Y. for the national championship today at 1 p.m. at Pat Hartley Field.
The Meridian Community College Eagles (18-3-2) will vie for fourth place in the early morning consolation game. Coach Steve Clements' team will take on Schoolcraft College (18-3-1) of Livonia, Mich., at 9 a.m.
The third place game will pit Johnson County, Kan., who beat Meridian 2-1 on Thursday, against the College of Dupage, Ill., at 11 a.m.
At stake for the Eagles will be a chance for at least a top four finish in the nation for the fourth time in the program's short history. In 1997, the Eagles finished fourth in their first national championships in Trenton, N.J. They were third in 1999 and won the nationals in Tyler in 2000.
The Eagles rallied from a 2-1 halftime deficit against Louisburg with three second half goals. All came after Louisburg was penalized with a red card.
Mid-fielder Garthfield Whyte scored the tying on a 10-yard penalty kick. He then scored to go-ahead goal on a break-away with 14:43 left in the game. Mahlon Sullivan scored the insurance goal with six minutes left on an assist by Whyte.
Meridian's starting line-up includes Whyte in the middle. He has five points in the tournament and is the team's leading scorer on the season.
Sullivan, Kevin King and Chris Beard are the forwards. All three are freshmen. Mid-fielders Derron Cornwall and Stuart Wainwright round out the Eagle offense.
The defense is paced by sophomore goalie Eric Stewart and sophomore sweeper Cecil Noyce. The two defenders are Shaun Van Heerden and Chris McAilly. Both are freshmen.
A key for Meridian will be to stay aggressive and to avoid defensive breakdowns. Meridian had 14 shots on goal and eight corner kicks in the 2-1 loss to Johnson County. They had 16 shots on Friday in the win against Louisburg.
Jeff Byrd is a sports writer for the Meridian Star. He can be reached at 693-1551 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.