High hopes emerge for the Men’s soccer team at NCC as the new season kicks off.
The Northampton Men’s Soccer team got off to a strong start on Tuesday, September 3rd, when they defeated Penn State Lehigh Valley 3-1 following a strong performance from freshman forward, Stivan Kumbarov, who scored two goals in the second half.
Freshman midfielder, Jean-Claude Pabulo, opened the scoring early with a goal in the first half while freshman goalkeeper, Nick Mazzella, recorded 7 saves in the game. The win is the first for Mazzella in his collegiate career, after graduating from Bangor this past spring.
Kumbarov and Mazzella were both members of the Colonial League all-star team last season.
“Our goal is to win as many games as possible,” Mazzella said. “With our talent and ability, we have a really good opportunity to qualify for regionals, and maybe even Nationals.”
Their chase for playoffs will continue throughout the fall, wrapping up regular season play on October 17th against Valley Forge Military College.
This season is the second at NCC for coach Mario Barrantes, who was an assistant coach at Moravian College before his hiring in 2018. Barrantes is the owner of Advance Sports Development, a sports performance and training center for over 20 high schools.
The team worked to bounce back from a 4-9 season in 2018. They are coming into the season with 27 players on the roster, addressing what Barrantes called one of their biggest weaknesses, the depth.
“Team chemistry is really important,” Mazzella said. “With team chemistry, you trust your teammates more and want to work harder for one another.”
Emphasis had been placed on playing as one cohesive unit, and the team will take their strong start and build on it throughout the season.