Brevard's defense provides 22nd win, national title, 2-1 Victory over N.Y.'s Monroe takes women's JC crown

November 25, 1996|By Michael Lewis | Michael Lewis,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

"Offense wins games, but defense wins championships."

That has been the motto of Joe Bartlinski, the women's soccer coach at Brevard (N.C.) Junior College all season, and on a chilly afternoon at Essex Community College yesterday, his team proved him right.

The Tornados capped an undefeated season by defeating 1995 champ Monroe (N.Y.) Community College, 2-1, in the championship game of the National Junior College Athletic Association. The title was the first for Brevard.

"These kids sacrificed so much all year, getting up at 6: 30 in the morning and training all season long," Bartlinski said, standing amid a group of his players, sipping champagne. "Every one of our players deserves credit for this win."

As it has all season, Brevard's defense shined against Monroe (21-3). The Tornados (22-0) allowed only three goals all season, and yesterday their opponents could muster only five shots.

Leading 1-0 at halftime, the Tornados took control of the game in the second half. Within the first 45 seconds of the second period, they had sent two shots at Tribunes goalkeeper Keisha Coombs. In the 54th minute, Brevard midfielder Holly Palombi capitalized on a rebound left by Coombs and blasted a low liner into the right corner of the goal.

"Once we got it to 2-0, we were real confident," Palombi said.

Monroe finally broke through in the game's last minute. Forward Jessica Dominguez ruined the shutout with a low shot into the right corner.

"Brevard was just bigger and faster than our team," Monroe coach Penny Fuehrer said. "On both of their goals, we had some bad defensive breakdowns, and they were talented enough to take advantage."

Brevard's 22-0 season eclipsed the previous single-season win record of 21 set by St. Louis Community College in 1992.

The Tornados also set NJCAA records for fewest goals allowed in a season (3) and most shutouts (18).

Pub Date: 11/25/96

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