The excellent soccer teams at Montgomery College-Rockville may no longer be the best-kept secret on campus.
Although Coach Tim Bichey has consistently turned out national caliber squads in his 13 years at the school, they have labored in virtual anonymity. But with the success of the current team, ranked fourth in the country and favored to win the regional JuCo championship tournament that begins today, Bichy and his players see a slight change.
"Some people are coming up and asking, 'How's the soccer team doing?'" said midfielder Guillermo Lariquicy. "I see a little more interest. We really talked up our last game, against Prince George's Community College, on campus and had about 60 people come out on a Saturday morning. It really made us feel good."
The players concede that commuter schools such as Montgomery-Rockville usually lack the school spirit of colleges with dorms. Also, the football team seems to grab most of the recognition that the school's athletic teams receive.
"Most of us are used to the lack of publicity and recognition because that's the way it was in high school," noted sophomore fullback Roger Larreur. "We might get 40 people at a soccer match here. The football team gets 300."
"And that's out of an enrollment of 15,000," interjected Bichy.
Bichy says without hesitation that this year's team, which finished 13-2-1 and won the Maryland state championship, is his best ever. "The kids seem to adjust to situations very well."
Montgomery-Rockville, top seed in the Region 20 playoffs, plays fourth-seeded Prince George's (9-3-2) in the first semifinal game at 11 a.m., followed by second-seeded Essex Community College's game with host Catonsville Community College at 1 p.m.
The final will be Saturday at 11 a.m. at Catonsville, with the winner advancing to the eight-team national championships Nov. 25-29 at Mercer (N.J.) Community College.
Pablo Migoya, a freshman from Good Counsel, has scored 11 goals and two assists for Montgomery-Rockville but Peru-born Francisco Llosa, a walk-on, is the leading point-getter with 10 goals and a school-record 11 assists. Montgomery-Rockville has outscored its opponents, 50-9, with goalie Kenny Wilkerson, a freshman from Sherwood, recording 11 shutouts.