Herkimer, NY – After falling to Genesee in last year's national championship game, Richland used another strong second half to defeat top-seeded Nassau 6-1. Today's victory marked the seventh national title in the Thunderducks' men's soccer program history.
Nassau took a 1-0 lead into the locker room behind an early sixth-minute goal from Jamie Quiroz. Richland would get a quick equalizer three minutes into the second half when Mariano Fazio got his head to a curling free kick to power it past the keeper.
The game remained even for the next 23 minutes, until the Thunderducks opened the floodgates. Lucio Martinez, who assisted on Richland's first goal, got won a header near the back post in the 70th minute to give his team the lead and game-winner. Martinez added a second late while Mohamed Essay provided a brace of his own as Richland scored five goals in the final 20 minutes to put the game to rest.
- Richland scored six second half goals in two consecutive national tournament games (7-3 semifinal win against Genesee, 6-1 championship match against Nassau).
- The Thunderducks finished the season undefeated against Division III competition. Richland's two losses came against Division I teams; 2-1 to Eastern Oklahoma State and 2-1 to defending national champion Tyler.
- The 6-1 final score marked the largest margin of victory in a Division III championship match in NJCAA history.
- Richland forward Mohamed Essay was named the Tournament MVP after scoring five goals and recording an assist over the span of three games.
- Teammates Mariano Fazio and Lucio Martinez earned spots alongside Essay on the All-Tournament team.
- Sean Worley (Richland) was named Coach of the Tournament