Essex Community College and Catonsville CC captured their respective National Junior College Athletic Association Region XX men's and women's soccer titles at Catonsville CC last night.
The winners will compete in the NJCAA tournament Nov. 21-23 at Mercer County CC in Trenton, N.J.
Freshman Joe Bailey ripped a 20-yard shot past Montgomery-Rockville goalkeeper Michael Bafitis with 3 minutes, 8 seconds left in regulation to send Essex (15-3-2) past its perennial playoff rival, 1-0. It was the school's 12th regional title in the past 19 years and came after it had split a pair of regular-season games, each side winning at home.
Essex dominated play for much of the game, but did not score until Bailey capitalized on a freak situation. A teammate had been tackled, players on both sides appeared to be waiting for a possible whistle, and he converted the loose ball into the winning goal.
The winners had a 12-9 edge in shots. Rockville got seven shots in the second half, when it applied some pressure but was thwarted by a solid Essex defense.
Catonsville's women (10-8-1) upset top-seeded Essex, 2-1, with all the scoring coming in the second half. Essex had won both regular-season games, although Catonsville finished with more wins than the previous eight years of its program combined.
Catonsville spotted Essex the first goal, then rallied as Tammy Peiffer converted a crossing pass from Amy Leishear, and Jen Stewart got credit for a score when the ball went off a defender into the goal.
Mont.-Rockville... 0... 0... --... 0
Essex CC.... ..... 0... 1... --... 1
N Goals: ECC--Bailey. Saves: MR--Bafitis 10; ECC--Thornton 7.
Essex CC.... .... 0... 1... --... 0
Catonsville CC... 0... 2... --... 2
Goals: ECC--Reabe; CCC--Peiffer, Stewart. Assists: CCC--Leishear.