BROCKTON, Mass. ---- Kalifa Sylla scored a goal in the first five and last five minutes of the opening half, which proved to be enough to give Monroe College a 2-1 victory over No. 16 Massasoit Community College in the NJCAA Men's Soccer Northeast District Championship on Sunday.
Massasoit concludes the season with an overall record of 14-5-1, as the loss in the district finals snapped an 11-match unbeaten streak for the Warriors.
Monroe (11-3) moves on to the NJCAA Nationals hosted by Yavapai College in Prescott, Ariz.
"I thought it was a very well played game all around," Massasoit head coach Rui Estrela said. "Give congrats to Monroe. They are very solid soccer team."
The Mustangs took the wind out of the Massasoit sails early, when Sylla corralled a pass inside the box, shielded off a defender, spun and rocketed a right-footed shot into the left upper-90 at the 5:06 mark in the first half.
Monroe nearly added onto its lead when Fabian Burnett fired a shot off a corner kick pass into the box, but sweeper Will Baah (Fall River) was there to boot the ball out of play. It was the third team save that Baah was involved in the two games of the district tournament.
In the 33rd minute, Massasoit would finally strike. Vangjel Kutulla (Norwood) crossed a pass into the box. During a scramble in front of the net, Joel Lobo (Brockton) tapped a pass to Nathan Estrela (Falmouth) who poked the ball past the Mustangs' keeper to knot up the score, 1-1.
Unfortunately for the Warriors, the even score would not last long, as Sylla would strike again eight minutes later. The Mustang forward took a pass from Tarek Beckles. On the pass, a Massasoit defender slipped allowing Sylla a clear look at the net as the Bronx, N.Y., native scored what proved to be the game-winner in the 41st minute of action.
In the second half, Massasoit was unable to muster much of an offensive threat. In total the Warriors were held to just four total shots and only one after intermission.
"Getting down against a team so early takes a lot out of you to get back into the game," Estrela said. "Once you get towards the end the game, the energy is just not there, because you have to come from behind and you are pushing so hard for the equalizer."
The Warriors had one final look in the last minute of regulation, but the short corner kick pass into the box was deflected out as the Mustangs would hang on for the one-goal victory.
"I thought the guys played well overall," Estrela said. "It was a great season and I'm proud of these guys."
Monroe finished with 15 total shots as Massasoit goalie Andre Reis (Fall River) made five saves in net.
PHYSICAL CONTEST: Sunday's championship match was physical throughout the entirety. In total 33 fouls were called and six total cards were given out by the officials.
STREAK SNAPPED: Massasoit's 11-match unbeaten streak was snapped with the loss on Sunday. It marked the first loss of the Warriors since falling at Bunker Hill back on Sept. 24.
SALUTE TO THE SOPHOMORES: Sunday marked the final match for seven sophomores in Green and White for the Warriors: Andre Reis, Pepe Vieira, Joel Lobo, Julio Gomes, Wililam Neves, Adilson DaRosa and Stephan Teixeira.