2007 Match Highlights

9/1/07
Trojans Blank Kankakee in Season Opener

The Trojans opened the 2007 season with a bang, by blanking Kankakee Community College 5-0. Eric Herrera led the way with 3 goals and an assist for 7 points. Jonathan Chavez had 2 assists and was instrumental on both defense and offense, while Goalkeeper Ben Gomez recorded his 1st shutout in his first game for Triton (1-0).

9/5/07
Triton Battles Harper to a 1-1 Draw

Triton began North Central Community College Conference (N4C) play at Harper and battled the Hawks to a hard fought 1-1 tie after 110 minutes of play.

Jonathan Chavez and Carson Machain were instrumental in the middle and Eric Herrera provided the lone goal on a goal mouth scramble off of Machain's shot. Goalkeeper Ben Gomez had 10 saves for the Trojans.

Triton (1-0-1, 0-0-1, N4C) will host long-time rival, College of DuPage this Friday at 4 p.m.

9/7/07
Triton Defeats College of DuPage for the First Time in 10 Years

When Wes Dapkus took over as head coach of the Triton College men's soccer team in 2006, his goal was to return the program to the dominance it had during the mid 80's and part of the 90's. On Sept. 7, the Trojans took a major step toward returning to those glory days after a thrilling 2-0 shutout win over the highly-rated College of DuPage.

The victory was significant in many respects for Triton, who improved to 2-0-1. It was the Trojans first win against COD in 10 years. In addition, Triton became the first school to knock off the Chaparrals in North Central Community College Conference (N4C) play since the inception of the league in 2002. Also, COD entered the match ranked 8th in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I preseason poll.

"This was an extremely important win for the college, men's soccer team, and the supporting communities that surround the beautiful River Grove campus," Dapkus said. "Triton has not defeated COD in this decade. This (win) changes everything. Now we become the team to beat."

Eric Herrera (St. Joseph) netted both goals against the Chaparrals to continue his outstanding play. The freshman is fourth in the nation for NJCAA Division III schools in scoring with six goals in three games.

"Eric is a natural goal scorer," Dapkus said. "He is learning to work hard off the ball by making quality runs to get open. As he continues to learn how to create separation and find the pockets, he'll be able to keep his scoring touch at a premium."

Goalkeeper Ben Gomez (Fenton) recorded his second shutout in three games, making 12 saves versus COD. The freshman is currently ranked third in the nation with a .306 Goals Against Average.

"Ben has had an extremely solid start to the season," Dapkus said. "He seems to get better with every match. He is a great shot stopper and his footwork is quick both laterally and off the line. Ben has a consistent work ethic on and off the field."

Jonathan Chavez (St. Joseph) and Miguel Cabrales (Gage Park) each had one assist in the match for the Trojans who look to carry over the momentum of the COD win. But Triton will be challenged in their next two matches.

The Trojans will host defending Region IV Division III champion Joliet Junior College, Wednesday Sept. 12 at 4 p.m. On Saturday, Sept. 15, Triton will play at Moraine Valley, who along with the Trojans are currently undefeated.

"Our guys have to step it up even more now," Dapkus said. "We have to put our game into another gear without blowing the clutch or any pistons. For now our sight is set on our next game. We need a result. That is what our sight is set on. We live game by game as we stride toward our goals."

9/12/07
Trojans Strike Early and Often Against Defending Region IV Champions Joliet

Triton continued their winning ways by defeating last year's regional champs, Joliet Junior College, 5-0. Mohammed Seidu (Mo) got the team going scoring two goals in the first 10 minutes off assists from Eric Herrera and Carson Machain. The third goal came off a slippery pass across the goal mouth from Tommy Przepiorka to Machain in the 17th minute. Herrera would add the finishing touch to the game scoring two goals in the second half for his 7th and 8th of the season off assists from Mo and Tommy Prezpiorka. As a team everyone defended well backed by a strong performance from Goalkeeper Ben Gomez who recorded his third shut out in four games making 13 saves.

The Trojans (3-0-1, 2-0-1 N4C) received votes in this weeks NJCAA Division III poll and will travel to Moraine Valley in a battle of undefeated squads, Saturday, Sept. 15 at 1 p.m.

9/15/07
Triton Earns Draw at Moraine Valley in Match-up of Unbeaten Teams

The Trojans traveled to Palos Hills to face the 5-0 Moraine Valley Cyclones and after 90 minutes of very physical and competitive play, the match resulted in a 1-1 draw. The Trojans battled back from a 1-0 deficit to earn the tie despite many adversities in the game.

Eric Herrera added the scoring touch from a nice combination play from Carson Machain and Jonathan Chavez. For Herrera it was his ninth goal of the season.

Triton fell behind 1-0 early in the second half and appeared to even the contest two minutes later but the goal was taken off the board due to an offsides call that went the Cyclones way.

After Moraine Valley dictated play the first 15 minutes of the match, Triton controlled the pace but could not cash in before halftime. Herrera had a shot from 15 yards out hit the post and the Trojans did not get a call in the box go their way which would have given Triton a penalty kick.

Goalkeeper Ben Gomez finished with 11 saves for Triton, who remains undefeated with a mark of 3-0-2. The Trojans will be back on the road Tuesday, Sept. 18 at Kankakee. Triton shutout the Cavaliers 5-0 in River Grove earlier this month.

9/18/07
Trojans Continue to Roll in Blasting Kankakee

After a pair of draws in their first two road games, the Trojans won for the first time away from River Grove by defeating Kankakee Community College 6-0 in Kankakee. Ben Gomez recorded eight saves for his fourth shutout in six games.

Eric Herrera led the scoring with two goals and two assists. Miguel Cabrales put in a remarkable game, adding two goals and an assist from a midfield role. Jonathan Chavez and William Sears each found the back of the net for Triton, who remains unbeaten with a 4-0-2 record.

However, the Trojans who are ranked 10th in the latest NJCAA Division III poll, will face one of its toughest challenges of the season when they host South Suburban College, Saturday, Sept. 22 at Noon. The Division I Bulldogs are also unbeaten with a mark of 6-0-1. South Suburban battled Kishwaukee to a 2-2 tie on Sept. 18.

9/22/07
Trojans Drop Their First Match in Double Overtime

The Trojans undefeated streak ends at six games as South Suburban College defeats Triton 3-2 in double overtime on a disputed goal in the final two minutes of play.

The Trojans fought hard against a well-coached South Suburban squad for 118 minutes of play. Triton fell behind 1-0 in the first half, but battled back from behind twice in the game to finish regulation at 2-2.

Miguel Cabrales displayed fine ball control defeating two opponents before unselfishly laying it off to Mohammed Seidu for the Trojans first goal early in the second half. After South Suburban went up 2-1 off a rebound shot, the Trojans would tie the game on a back post header from Jonathan Chavez assisted by William Sears at the 83rd minute.

The game went into overtime and each team had several chances until in the final two minutes of overtime when on an apparent offsides, high kick, and handball situation in the box South Suburban slapped one in.

Triton, ranked 10th in the nation for NJCAA Division III, moves to 4-1-2. South Suburban improved to 8-0-1. The Trojans look to rebound in their next match Wednesday at home against Aurora University.

9/26/07
Triton and Aurora Settle For Tie

Triton battled Aurora University, an NCAA Division III College, to 1-1 tie in River Grove. Triton had the majority of scoring chances in the game. Eric Herrera got the lone goal off an assist from Miguel Cabrales. Ben Gomez made six saves in 90 minutes of action.

The Trojans (4-1-3) will go on the road to face two tough opponents in Champaign on Saturday the 29th. They will face Parkland College at 10 a.m. and St. Louis-Forest Park at 3 p.m. both NJCAA Division I members. Both games are to be held at Parkland College.

9/29/07
Trojans Split Weekend Road Trip in Champaign

Triton College won their first match against Parkland 2-1 in Champaign, Illinois. The Trojans fought very hard and won the majority of the first and second ball battles. Parkland recently played the 13th ranked team in the nation for Division I, Lewis and Clark, and barely lost 3-2. They were a solid team with good soccer sense.

Carson Machain would score the first goal heading the ball past the keeper with authority after a driven near post run from a set play. Adrian Ponce would grab the assist from the set piece. Finally, Eric Herrera would earn the game-winning goal with less than four minutes to play from the spot blasting the ball past the goalkeeper. Goalkeeper Ben Gomez had seven saves in the match.

Triton's second match would occur just over three hours after the Trojans defeated Parkland. Triton faced off against St. Louis-Forest Park on a hot afternoon. The Trojans were banged up and expended and were a step off their form. They would drop the decision 3-0. The team played with some heart but their feet and mentality just were not in the game. Triton was simply exhausted mentally, physically and emotionally.

The Trojans finish their weekend road trip 1-1. Their overall record improves to 5-2-3. Triton is currently ranked first in the Region 4 and is atop the N4C conference, one-half game ahead of C.O.D. The Trojans next game is at home vs. Harper College on Wednesday Oct. 3. Then the Trojans go to Glen Ellyn to face the College of DuPage on Friday, Oct. 5 at 4 p.m.

10/3/07
Triton On the Brink of Conference Title After Downing Harper 3-1

Triton defeated Harper 3-1 in River Grove to remain undefeated in the conference and against Region IV Division III teams. Eric Herrera and Raul Guzman each had a goal and an assist while Ben Gomez made well-timed saves to preserve the victory. The Trojans move to 6-2-3 and will face the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn this Friday at 4PM. DuPage is coming off an impressive 5-0 win vs McHenry College. The Trojans are a half game ahead of C.O.D. in the N4C Conference Standings.

10/3/07
Trojans Sweep COD, Take First N4C Title Since 1995

The Triton men's soccer team ended College of DuPage's stranglehold of the North Central Community College Conference, Oct. 5 in Glen Ellyn. Eric Herrera scored on a pair of goals on penalty kicks, while goalie Ben Gomez was sensational in front of the net to lift the Trojans to a 2-0 win and the conference crown.

For Triton (7-2-4, 4-0-2) it is their first N4C title since 1995, when the Trojans were 17-2 and finished 5th in the nation. Also, the win ended a 12-year run as conference champs for COD, who lost both meetings this year with Triton.

"That was one of the goals that I had set for this team at the beginning of the year," Triton head coach Wes Dapkus said on winning the N4C. "But we still have more business to take care of and that's to win the region."

One of the main reasons why the Trojans won the conference was because of the play of Gomez. The freshman man several clutch saves, including one on a breakaway with 17 minutes left to preserve at that time a 1-0 Triton lead.

"Those were phenomenal saves," Dapkus told Pioneer Press. "He had a huge reaction to make the save on a breakaway. That's why we call him 'Big Cat.' His reactions are very quick."

For the game Gomez made 11 saves.

Both Trojan goals came off of penalty kicks by Herrera, his 15th and 16th of the season. His second penalty kick came shortly after the Gomez save on the breakaway. Herrera was taken down by COD goalie Zack Szymel.

Another key to the victory was how fundamentality sound the Trojans were and being able to adjust to a COD team that was more ready for them the second time around. Triton beat the Chaparrals 2-0 in River Grove on Sept. 7.

"We played more soccer than they did and that was the key," Dapkus said. "We moved the ball better than they did and that's the bottom line."

"The main difference with the first game with COD was that they were more prepared to play us. Also they were at home and it was their time to shine, but we turned off the lights."

10/10/07
Triton Ends N4C Play with Scoreless Tie at Joliet

Triton battled Joliet for 110 minutes and neither team could find the back of the net. The Trojans finished conference play with 4-0-2 record. Ben Gomez recorded his sixth shutout season, improving his goals against average to 0.79.

Triton, who is currently ranked 10th in the latest NJCAA Division III Poll (7-2-4, 4-0-2) will the finish the regular season with a pair of games, Wednesday, Oct. 17 at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin and Thursday, Oct. 18 at home vs. Waubonsee.