Ottumwa, IA – Saturday was a memorable day for the Tiger soccer family as Head Coach Rafael Martinez earned his 100th win as the Head Coach of the MCC Tigers. The Tigers took on the Thunderbirds of Cloud County Community College at 4:00 PM in the Wells Fargo Cup on the Indian Hills Community College campus, defeating the Thunderbirds 2-0.
The Tigers struggled in the first half against a tough Thunderbird squad, although the Tigers controlled the ball for the majority of the first half, they struggled putting together quality shots on goal. After halftime, the Tigers came out in the second half ready to go, playing with a sense of urgency and pushing the Thunderbird defense. Just 10 minutes into the second half, freshman Sekou Kromah found the back of the net with an assists from fellow freshman Kazuki Kimura. The Tigers kept on the attach, recording six shots on goal and scored with 19 minutes remaining in the game when Jiroh Hatano found the back of the net.
Sophomore Joel Serrano continued his great play in the net for the Tigers. After receiving news he would be playing for the Puerto Rican National team next week, Serrano recorded four saves and another shutout. Serrano has yet to give up a goal in his career. Last season he recorded six saves in his lone start in a shutout victory over Century College and has started 2018 with three straight shutouts.
"This was a hard fought win against a very good Cloud County team," stated Coach Martinez. "We knew it was going to be a big challenge, but we take those as opportunities to learn and improve and I think we did. Everyone stepped up to the occasion, especially the guys coming off the bench."
A special game for Coach Martinez, the Tigers Head Coach since the fall of 2010. Martinez has built a consistent winning program, contending for Regional Championships year in and year out. In his inaugural season, the Tigers went 6-0, the fewest wins of his career. Since that year, the Tigers have won at least 12 games and have won 14 or more games four times. Martinez sits alone at the top of the wins list in Tiger soccer history, 43 more than any previous head coach.
"It's incredible how time flies, this is obviously a team accomplishment so I want to thank everyone that has been a part of those wins, players, coaches, and the administrators that trust me to lead the program. We now focus on tomorrows match against another program expected to compete with the best in their region."
The Tigers will stay the night in Ottumwa for their match tomorrow against Jefferson College at 1:00 PM. Jefferson College defeated the Warriors of Indian Hills Community College 3-2 on Friday August 31. Jefferson will be the toughest test so far for the Tigers. For more information on the men's soccer team, follow @MCCTigers_MSOC on twitter.