by Amanda Rogers, Sports Information Director
However, this year is particularly exciting for the teams, as it is the Mustangs’ first year competing in Region 19 of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
Previously, the Mustangs competed in the Eastern Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference (EPCC). The EPCC is a division of the state-wide Pennsylvania Collegiate Athletic Conference (PCAA).
In the EPCC playoffs, the women were runners-up for the championship title in 2009-10 and semifinalists in 2010-11. The men were quarterfinalists in 2009-10 and semifinalists in 2010-11.
Both teams look to make a strong run this year in the NJCAA. In a league with much stronger competition, the Mustangs are proud to have made it to the playoffs once again.
“Our athletes worked extremely hard this season and we’re all excited for the playoff rounds,” commented women’s basketball Head Coach Kelly Donohue.
Both Donohue and men’s basketball Head Coach Denny Surovec have led the basketball programs since their reinstatement in 2008-09, the Mustangs provisional year in the EPCC.
Surovec echoes Donohue’s sentiments. “To make the playoffs in our first season in a national league is already a great accomplishment. Region 19 is a strong region and good competition for us.”
In fact, both Mustangs teams competed with two nationally ranked squads this season.
Earlier in the year, the women’s team faced nationally ranked #5 Ocean County College and #9 Northampton Community College twice each. The teams are ranked #1 and #2 respectively in Region 19.
On the men’s side, Brookdale Community College and Camden County College are ranked #5 and #6 nationally, and are also ranked #1 and #2 respectively in Region 19.
Neither the men’s or women’s Mustangs teams were able to steal wins from these basketball powerhouses, but hope to have the opportunity to do so in the NJCAA Division III Region 19 Semifinals on March 1, 2012.
However, first the teams must face stiff competition in the Region 19 Quarterfinals before hoping to take on one of the region’s nationally ranked squads.
The Mustangs men (12-16 overall, 12-12 Region 19) will compete against Ocean County College (19-9 overall, 17-7 Region 19) in the Region 19 Quarterfinals at Ocean on Monday Feb. 27 at 6:00 p.m. In December the Mustangs defeated Ocean 79-72, but lost to them 79-93 in early February.
The Mustangs women (15-9 overall, 13-9 Region 19) will compete against Middlesex County College (15-12 overall, 13-9 Region 19) in the Region 19 Quarterfinals at Middlesex on Tuesday Feb. 28 at 6:00 p.m. During regular season play the teams split decisions, the Mustangs winning 88-63 in early December, while losing 48-66 at the end of January.
The teams to move on will compete in the NJCAA Division III Region 19 Semifinals round on Thursday March 1, 2012. The Finals round will take place on Saturday March 3, 2012. All semifinal and final competition will occur at Brookdale Community College in Monmouth County, N.J.