Georgia Perimeter Wins National JUCO Title.
Hernando Quintero, Ricardo Cardoso and Heyden Ayure scored first-half goals to lead the Jaguars to GPC’s first national title since 2001.
“With three wins over top-ranked opponents, it says a lot about our team,” head coach Marc Zagara said. “It was a really strong team effort. There were a few teams with maybe a few better starters, but our 12 through 16 spots were better than anybody and they really made a huge difference for us.”
This is the first national championship for Zagara, who is the longest-tenured coach at Georgia Perimeter. The victory also represents the first national title for GPC in any sport other than tennis.
Dan Low put Yavapai on the scoreboard first with an early goal at the 4:45 minute mark. But Quintero and Cardoso added two goals for the Jaguars with assists from Ayure and Chris Deno.
Ayure put the game away for the Jaguars with a header off a kick from all-tournament selection Jamarr Miller for two-point advantage, 3-1, with one minute remaining to end the first half. Georgia Perimeter held the lead, with neither team scoring in the second half, to claim the championship. Goalkeeper Aaron Ingham recorded seven saves in the game for the Jaguars.
“I’m really proud of this group,” Zagara said. “Our guys just wouldn’t give up.”
In the semifinals, a rematch of last year’s national championship game, the Jaguars knocked off defending champion and top seeded Mercer County Community College (19-1-1) in a 3-2 double overtime semifinal thriller. Alberto Chamarro scored the game-winning goal with a shot into the top corner of the net on an assist by Cardoso. Cardoso also scored one goal with an assist from Luis Campo and Christian Vallejos added a goal on a pass from Abigani Abdulahi.
In Thursday’s first-round match, Georgia Perimeter struck for two goals in the first nine minutes. Eduardo Rosas, Justin Williams and Vallejos each scored for the Jaguars on assists by Abdifatah Hassan, Ayure and Cardoso.
Cardoso, the tournament’s most valuable player, was also named to the
All-Tournament team along with Campo and Miller. Zagara was named Coach of the Tournament. The Jaguars finished the season 20-2-1.