Sophomore goalkeeper Joel Serrano and freshman defenseman Aleix Viladot have been named ICCAC Athletes of the Week for soccer for the positions of goalkeeper and field player, respectively. They both earned this honor in large part for their heroic efforts with 19 seconds left in the Great Lakes District Championship Game.
With the clock winding down, the Tigers had one more chance to score the equalizer against Morton College on Saturday, November 3rd. Freshman Mateus Pereira launched a free kick from midfield inside of the six-yard line in front of the Panther goal. The ball was unable to be cleared, Serrano lucked into the ball somehow deflecting it to Viladot who beat the confused keeper. The goal was Viladot's first of the season and could not have come at a more crucial time sending the game into overtime.
Neither team was able to find the back of the net in overtime sending the game to a best of five-penalty shootout. Serrano was able to deny the first Panther kicker giving the Tigers a lead that they would not relinquish sending them to the National Tournament for the first time since 2012. The honor is Vilodot's first during his rookie season, while it comes in as Serrano's third capping his outstanding sophomore campaign.
"Joel is having an amazing postseason. Not only is he making incredible saves in critical moments and given us the support to initiate from the back, he even helped score a goal in the District Final. We hope he can continue making a contribution in all aspects of the game for us at the National Tournament," Head Coach Rafael Martinez stated about Serrano. He commented further about Viladot, "Aleix has been an incredible addition to this year's team, making an impact both defensively and offensively. This week, he helped us in limiting Morton's combination play up front and then added a miracle goal in the last minute of regulation."