CMCC men’s and women’s teams confident heading into national tournaments

CMCC men’s and women’s teams confident heading into national tournaments

AUBURN — The Central Maine Community College men’s and women’s soccer teams are headed to nationals — a program first for the women and the third year in a row for the men’s program.

The school held a news conference Monday before the team leaves Tuesday for the United States Collegiate Athletic Association national tournaments in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania.

The women’s team made history when the Mustangs won the program’s first Yankee Small Conference College championship by beating Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences 5-4 on Nov. 5.

Head coach Rob Rodriguez said the Mustangs revamped their style of play heading into this season.

“This year, after getting eliminated the last two years in the preliminary round of playoffs, as a coaching staff, we looked at that, and we became very stat-driven this year,” Rodriguez said. “We looked at stats, we build the graphs based on the stats we gain, and then we instituted very quick strike style players to make the difference with the players that we have to deal with.”

CMCC (11-4-1) is the No. 1 seed and will open Pool A play in the USCAA Division II tournament against No. 5 University of Cincinnati of Clermont on Friday at 6:15 p.m.

The loser of that game faces the other Pool A team, Penn State Mont Alto, on Saturday, while the winner faces Mont Alto on Sunday. The winners of Pool A and Pool B face off for the national title on Monday.

Rodriguez said the Mustangs’ mentality has always been to focus on the game at hand, and they plan to carry that into nationals, which the team views as a “one-game tournament.”

So practices, film sessions and strategy right now are focused on Clermont.

Meanwhile, the national tournament is familiar to the CMCC (12-2-1) men’s team, having made it to the second round of nationals and losing the past two years in a row in pool play. In 2021, they tied Five Towns College through regulation and two overtimes, but lost in penalty kicks. Then, they faced Penn State Beaver next, but lost 6-1. In 2022, they beat Cincinatti-Clermont 2-0 but lost to Berkeley-New Jersey 2-1.

Mustangs second-year Kiaran McCormack said his biggest takeaway from last year’s tournament result was maintaining a roster of technically gifted players while adding in players with more athleticism.

“I felt that the core group of players that returned filled that, and the recruits that we brought in are also very athletic, as well as being technically gifted players,” McCormack said. “I think we are now in a better position to compete to win a national title.”

The CMCC men are the fourth seed in the USCAA tournament. Their first game is Saturday against the loser of Friday’s Pool A opener between Johnson & Wales Charlotte and Five Towns College. They play winner of the opener on Sunday.

The championship game is Monday at 1 p.m.

The four players that participated in the news conference are all team captains this year, including third-year Lakyn Hink, third-year and Audrey Dillman of the women’s team, and second-year Arnaud Nyagasaza and third-year Isidoro Domingues from the men’s team. When asked about the secret to this season’s success, all four noted better team chemistry on their teams.

“Everybody wants to learn from everybody, so, we are not going to leave our teammates behind … that’s why we reached the level we reached,” Domingues said.

Nyagasaza said last season’s loss marked the first day of this season for the men’s players, and they quickly started their, which included captain’s practices and summertime scrimmage sessions organized by the current team. McCormack said it has continued with post-practice play after the coaches have left the field.

Dillman said the women’s team had several lift sessions and practices over the summer, organized by the team, which helped implement the incoming freshman sooner than the first day of practice. She also said the roster consisted of several returners, and familiarity helped the team dynamic improve.

Hink said the team’s cohesiveness has extended beyond the pitch.

“Between the lift and practice sessions, we would go and grab food and just get to know each other off the field, as well,” Hink said.


Dillman played at Oak Hill High School, and Domingues is from Lewiston. They are among several players on CMCC’s women’s and men’s teams with area ties.

Joining Dillman on the women’s team are fellow Oak Hill alumni Emily Dillman, Alexis Dinn and Madison Drew, Kate Blouin and Alexia Chaloux of Leavitt, Mya Sirois (Monmouth), Charlotte Mitchell (Mt. Abram), Khloe Dean (Mt. Blue), Madisyn Turcotte (Edward Little), Ava Simpson (Lewiston) and Madison Valentine (Poland).

Rodriguez said Oak Hill creates a caliber of “college-ready” players.

“We’ve always had Oak Hill players, for quite a few years, they just seem to be college-ready when they come in,” Rodriguez said. “There’s been less of a learning curve, for whatever reasons, and they’ve just adapted a lot quicker.”

Players with area ties on the men’s side include Davin Cloutier (Poland), Justin Violette (Lisbon), Mnawer Dubai (Edward Little) and six former Lewiston High School players: Isidoro Domingues, Ivan Domingues, Igor Domingues, Zoubeyr Abdillahi, Moses Lumu and Raimundo Lubota.

“It’s crazy to play at the college level, and the level that we are,” Isidoro Domingues said. “Especially coming from Lewiston, but I feel like that’s just helped us, because we’ve been playing together, and that connection that we had, we just brought it here.”

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