Pearl River Men’s Soccer Returns To National Tournament For The First Time since 2021
Pearl River CC Sports Information
POPLARVILLE, Miss.- Fresh off winning the Gulf South District Championship on Sunday, the Pearl River men’s soccer team now knows its placement for the National Tournament. The bracket was announced Tuesday morning, and the Wildcats were placed in Pool B and named the 11-seed.
The tournament runs Nov. 12-18 at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Ariz.
“It’s a really good feeling to be headed back to the National Tournament, but we have to refocus now,” head coach Drew Gallant said. “It was a big win for us just to make it, but everyone needs to be switched on and ready for the first game. We will take it one game at a time and hope to get out of the group and do something no one else in our state has ever done.”
ABOUT THE GROUP
Pearl River (11-4-3 overall) won the Gulf South District Championship to earn an automatic berth to Nationals. The Wildcats were named the 11-seed in the 12-team Tournament and were placed into Pool B along with 2-seed Phoenix College (Ariz.) (12-1-2) and 7-seed St. Louis (Mo.) (12-4-3).
PRCC squares off with Phoenix College on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. and St. Louis on Monday at 12:30 p.m.
“We’re matching up with Phoenix, who was our first game last time and are our first game this time as well,” Gallant said. “I expect the same level of intensity and a highly talented team. They were very well-coached last time. We also match up with St. Louis the next day. They are ranked 11th in the country. I think we have one of the toughest groups facing the fourth and 11th-ranked teams. We look forward to the competition.”
Phoenix College took down Glendale 3-0 in the West Region Final to advance to Tucson, Ariz. The Bears are a familiar foe for Pearl River as the two teams square off in the 2021 National Tournament. PC earned a 3-2 penalty kicks victory in the match.
Sophomore Ezekiel Anaya leads the team in goals with eight. Bryan Aceves and Alex Huguez are second with seven goals apiece. Luis Diaz and Kaito Nakayama are first and second in assists, with seven and six, respectively.
The Bears are stout defensively, as they have a 0.80 goals-against average through 15 matches. They average 3.93 goals per game.
St. Louis won the Central District by taking down Heartland 2-0. Gabriel Carneiro is first on the team with 15 goals. Raphael Kistmann is second with 11 goals. Kistmann leads the team in assists with 14. Carneiro is second with eight.
SLCC has a goals-against average of 1.53 and scores 2.89 goals per game.
ABOUT THE WILDCATS
Pearl River went on an impressive run to capture the program’s second Gulf South District Championship. After starting 1-4, the Wildcats rattled off 14 consecutive matches without tasting defeat.
In the Gulf South District Tournament, Pearl River earned a 2-1 overtime victory against Southwest to set up a Semifinal match against rival No. 7 Jones College. PRCC bagged a pair of goals to earn a 2-1 victory against the Bobcats. Pearl River fell behind in the Championship Game against Gulf Coast but battled back to win an overtime thriller 3-2, thanks to a header by team captain Aden Smith (Biloxi).
Sophomore Christopher Dommer (Copenhagen, Denmark; Øregård Gymnasium) leads the charge with 13 goals and is tied for the team lead in assists with six. Tiago Honorio Jr. (São Paulo, Brazil) is second on the team with 12 goals and also has six assists.
Noah Fazal (Værløse, Denmark; Gladsaxe Gymnasium) has collected six assists.
Goalkeeper Noah Nymark (Farsø, Denmark; Handelsgymnasiet Turoegade) has started all 18 matches between the posts for the Wildcats this season. The freshman has allowed 23 goals and saved 66 shot attempts.
All-session passes are available for $50, and Pool Play passes are $25. Single-day tickets are $15.
Tickets may be purchased in advance using a credit card (for pick-up at Kino Sports Park) through Pima Community College Foundation using https://pimafoundation.org/njcaasoccertickets/.
Tickets may be purchased at Kino Sports Park each day of the Championship Tournament; cash and credit cards are accepted. Checks are not accepted.
HOW TO WATCH
The entirety of the 2023 NJCAA Division II Men’s Championship will be broadcast live on NJCAA.org/network. A day pass is $12, and a tournament pass is $30. The Championship game will be $5.
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