PLATTSBURGH - The Clinton Community College Lady Cougars soccer team have gone down in history.
The team won their final match of the season against Genesee Community College of Batavia at Prince George Community College in Largo, Md., Nov. 7. There they were declared the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III champions, the first team at CCC to ever have the distinction.
A special ceremony was held for the ladies Nov. 10, where family and friends filled the seats and numerous political and academic leaders congratulated the team.
"This is such an honor, not just for Clinton Community College, but the entire North Country and particularly for women," said Assemblywoman Teresa R. Sayward, R-Willsboro. "Very often it's the guys that get on the front page of the newspaper with all the pictures and the splash and the hoorah, but we have a group of women here who've done more than most of our male teams have been able to accomplish this year and we're just so proud of you."
The team returned home with 17 straight wins under their belts, even though they began the season with a "shaky start."
"We started the year a little shaky as everybody knows," said coach Donna Dixon. "There's one particular moment that stands in my mind. It was after we had lost our second game, we were in practice and [assistant coach Melanie Defayette] and I were talking about raising the bar."
"We brought them together and we said 'Guys, we're going to raise the bar, we're going to push you,'" Dixon added. "And Katie McIntosh said, 'Coach, you can raise the bar as high as you want and we'll match it.' And that's exactly what they did all season long."
CCC president John E. Jablonski shared similar sentiments.
"What they demonstrated is what a can-do attitude and with the team work that they have demonstrated, that is a powerful combination. That's very tough to beat," he said.
Assemblywoman Janet L. Duprey, R-Peru, also noted the girls overcame years of competition to join as a team.
"As I looked through the list of you who are on the team and I realized most of you, if not all of you, competed against each other. I'm sure for many years," Duprey explained. "And to take that competition, join together, and become national champions, says volumes for each of you as young ladies and certainly your two coaches."
Duprey added once the Assembly is back in session, both Sayward and she would bring forth a resolution honoring the team.
Resolutions were also passed by the Plattsburgh Town Council, presented by Supervisor Bernard C. Bassett, and the Faculty Council of CCC, presented by David Swarts.
Following the tournament, McIntosh and Chelsea LaRose took home National Tournament honors, being named to the All Tournament Team. Kelly Lucia was named Tournament Defensive Player and Kim Dragoon was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament. Dixon was named Mountain Valley Athletic Conference Coach of the Year just prior to the tournament and also took top honors being named Most Valuable Coach of the tournament.