Maybe you've heard about this team from Montgomery College-Rockville. On a field a few hundred yards from bustling Rockville Pike, the Knights have blitzed opponents since September. They're the No. 1 junior college team in the country, area-built and primed for a shot at the national championship.
Football, right? No, the other guys.
Montgomery-Rockville, whose football team was invited to the Mid-America Bowl on Dec. 2 to decide the national title, has the top-ranked soccer team in the junior college championships that begin today in Trenton, N.J.
The Knights (18-1-1) will play Herkimer, N.Y., (18-1-1) at 11 a.m. in a quarterfinal at Mercer Community College. A victory would put them in Friday's semifinal at noon against the Ulster, N.Y.-Yavapai, Ariz., winner. The final is Sunday at 1.
In the women's tournament, Anne Arundel (12-4-3) will meet School Kraft, Mich., today at 1 at the same location.
The Knights have had a winning record every year since Coach Tom Bichy's second season in 1969. They have won at least 10 games in 13 of the past 14 seasons, went to the nationals two years ago and lost in the regional final last season.
Montgomery-Rockville earned its first No. 1 ranking last month. After a loss to Anne Arundel dropped them to second, the Knights regained the top spot when defending national champion Mercer was upset by Passaic, N.J., in the regionals.
The Knights, who have outscored opponents by 65-13, also had a scoreless tie with Anderson, S.C. They beat Essex, last year's national runner-up, twice in the regular season and again in the Region XX final two weeks ago.
Unlike NCAA teams that can maintain a talent level for many years, two-year junior colleges are in constant turnover. Bichy was fortunate this season to have nine returning players, including goalkeeper George Garbis (Gaithersburg High) and striker Victor Martins (Blair), who has 23 goals and seven assists.
"Junior college teams have to regroup every year," Bichy said. "Nine returning players makes it a lot easier for us. And I think this group wants it more because they didn't get it done last year."