BELLEVILLE, NJ (updated Thursday Nov. 23, 11:02 a.m.) – Max Correa and Marlon Rodriguez, both Belleville High School graduates, have helped lead the unbeaten Drew University men’s soccer team to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Correa and Rodriguez are juniors. Both played for former Belleville High head coach Lenny Marino. They are also both economic majors with a minor in Spanish.
Drew, with a 21-0-1 record, will travel to Medford, Mass. to face Brandeis University this Saturday, Nov. 18.
Drew advanced with a 1-0 win at Lycoming, Pa. on Nov. 12. In the win, Rodriguez, a defenseman, had three shots and two on goal.
Correa, a midfielder, was named to the First Team all-conference for the Landmark Conference. Drew won the Landmark Conference title.
Rodriguez and Correa, both childhoold friends, are indeed about playing in the Sweet 16, especially with his childhood friend.
“It feels great,” said Rodriguez in a phone interview with EssexNewsDaily.com. “Coming from Belleville, me and Max have been playing together ever since we were 11. We’ve been playing on the same side (of the field) and the chemistry has been great. The team has been playing great. We have a lot to prove and it’s going to be a challenge. It’s going to be exciting.”
Said Correa in a phone interview: “I’ve been playing with Marlon for a long time and it’s kind of like a (special) feeling to see what we have accomplished together, from Belleville to winning titls with them, to winning the Landmark Conference at Drew, to going to the NCAA. It’s a nice feeling to play with my best friend.
“Playing in the NCAA is a great experience,” added Correa. “It’s very challenging; it’s a complete different atmosphere, and I’m just really glad to represent Belleville.”
UPDATE: Drew lost to Brandeis, 1-0, to finish the season 21-1-1.