Six weeks ago the CCBC Essex women’s soccer team trudged off its home field after opening the season with a 15-0 loss to defending NJCAA champion Monroe (N.Y.) College.
The Knights have played 15 games since that day, and they’ve won all 15 while giving up only 13 goals.
“I thought we were going to be good this season, but I didn’t think we were going to be this good,” Essex coach Joe Fiedler said.
Monroe College is still unbeaten and ranked No. 1 in the NJCAA Division I. But Essex has climbed the rankings to No. 13 during its 15-game winning streak that has included several wins over ranked teams.
The Knights’ latest victory was Thursday over visiting Union (Pa.) County, which entered the game with a 9-1-1 record and ranked sixth in the NJCAA Division III and left with a 7-0 loss.
Kara Dietrich (Perryn Hall) scored four goals, while Danielle Zacierka (Sparrows Point) scored two.
Zacierka scored the first and seventh goals for the Knights. Dietrich scored three goals to give Essex a 4-0 halftime lead and scored her fourth goal early in the second half.
Dietrich’s second goal made her the first player in NJCAA Division I to reach 40 goals for the season.
Ryleigh Fachler (Perry Hall) scored to give Essex a 6-0 lead.
The Essex roster also includes Sparrows Point graduates Emily Vetri, Mia Brookshire and Trinity Pfeifer, as well as Patapsco grad Jazmyn Smith.
The Knights ended September with a trip to New York state, where they defeated Monroe Community College 3-1 on Sept. 28 and Genesee Community College 4-1 on Sept. 29.
Monroe entered the game ranked 14th while Essex was unranked, and Genesee was ranked ninth in Division III. The Knights have defeated five ranked teams this season.
Against Monroe, Natalie Marx (Towson) scored to break a 1-1 halftime tie and Vetri added an insurance goal.
Dietrich scored in the first half after Monroe had taken a 1-0 lead.
The Knights took a 3-0 lead over Genesee on goals by Dietrich, Mikayla Boyle (Eastern Tech) and Zacierka.
Boyle added a second goal in the second half.
“Monroe beat us 14-1 last season,” Fiedler said. “Quite honestly, that was our measuring stick. After getting annihilated last year, that was a big moment for our team.”
Essex returned from New York to beat CCBC Catonsville 10-0 (Dietrich scored six goals) and Mercer County Community College 3-2.
The Knights took a 3-0 lead on goals by Taylor West, Dietrich and Fachler, then held on as Mercer scored twice in the last 20 minutes.
“That first game of the season, we had a lot of injuries, with seven players out,” Fiedler said. “These girls really like one another, and play hard for each other.”
Essex was to host Frederick on Tuesday in its regular-season finale, with the NJCAA Region XX tournament scheduled to begin on Oct. 26.
“Frederick will be our biggest challenge in the regional tournament,” Fiedler said. “They always play good games against us.”
The Essex men’s soccer team defeated Chesapeake College 10-0 on Oct. 8 to raise their record to 13-3.
The Knights cracked the NJCAA Top 20, being ranked 19th this week.
The Essex men were also to host Frederick on Tuesday, then finish the regular season with a game against visiting Allegany College on Thursday.