Brookhaven College, whose squad boasts Bermuda Under-20 team-mates Deshae Darrell and Micah Pond, basked in glory after upstaging No 1 seeds Herkimer in the NJCAA Division III Women’s Championship final in Dryden, New York on Sunday.
The Texas-based Lady Bears prevailed 2-1 in extra time at Tompkins Cortland Community College, with sophomore Darrell getting her name onto the scoresheet to claim the tournament’s Golden Boot award with five goals.
The Bermuda Under-20 striker was also chosen as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, having netted two goals in each of the Lady Bears quarter-final and semi-final victories over Montgomery College and Rowan College at Gloucester County respectively.
“I am excited and overwhelmed considering I didn’t play as much at my old school,” an elated Darrell told The Royal Gazette. “I have accomplished so much in such little time.”
Darrell gave Brookhaven the lead when she scored her seventh goal of the postseason and 21st overall.
The Lady Bears were nearly home and dry when their opponents equalised in the 88th minute through a goal from Mikayla Blumenstock to send the match into extra time. It was the first and only goal that the Lady Bears conceded at the tournament in New York.
However, No 2 seeds Brookhaven would not to be denied, as Jazmine Bustos popped up and scored the winner in the first minute of extra time.
Brookhaven’s triumph capped an outstanding season that saw them claim conference honours for the first time as well as the regional title to secure their place in the national championship.
Darrell has been in prolific form for the Lady Bears, scoring 14 goals during the regular season to claim the Region 5 MAC Conference’s Golden Boot award.
Darrell and Pond were recruited by Robert Williams, the former Devonshire Colts player and youth coach, who is the assistant coach of the Lady Bears.
The team-mates represented Bermuda during this summer’s Concacaf Caribbean Women’s Under-20 qualifiers at the National Stadium.