By TIM MORRIS Staff Writer The Brookdale Community College women’s soccer team poses with the Region 19 trophy they won Nov. 1 at Ocean County College in Toms River when they defeated Union County College, 6-0. It was the second straight region championship for the defending national champions. The Jersey Blues begin defense of their NJCAA Division III title on Nov. 13 against Anne Arundel Community College back in Toms River. BROOKDALE ATHLETICS Neither wind nor rain nor Union County College could keep the Brookdale Community College women’s soccer team from their destination.The Brookdale women defeated Union, 6-0, under adverse conditions to capture their second consecutive Region 19 championship, attaining their season-long goal of returning to the National Junior College Athletic Association’s (NJCAA) Division III National Championship.“This team has worked extremely hard all season to get [to the national championship tournament],” Brookdale head coach Katie Miller said. “It was the goal they set, and now they are eager play.”Brookdale, which has been ranked No. 1 in the country all year and is the defending national champion, will begin its bid for back-to-back championships on Nov. 13 when the Jersey Blues play Anne Arundel Community College at 10 a.m. at Ocean County College in Toms River.The Ocean County College pitch is a welcome site for the Jersey Blues, not only because it means the team doesn’t have to travel, but also because it’s the pitch where they won the Region 19 championship on Nov. 1.“We got a feel for the field,” Miller said. “It is an advantage.”The region finals were played in conditions that are usually a great equalizer, and that made the victory that much sweeter.“It was extra exciting,” Miller said of the region victory. “It poured the whole time and there were strong winds, and we were able to play through it.”The strong winds and rain can often neutralize the talents of a more skillful team. It figured to put a ball control team like Brookdale at a disadvantage. But, it didn’t.“Against the wind, it was difficult to get the ball out of the back third,” Miller said. “We persevered.”Miler credited Caroline Duerr (Manasquan) and Nicole Rodriguez (Millstone/ Union High) with running down every ball kicked out of the defensive end and getting Brookdale into its possession game. Brookdale’s speed up front, Miller noted, has been extremely difficult for opposing teams to match. It gives the Jersey Blues a huge edge every time they take to the pitch.Center midfielder Meghan Begley (Mater Dei Prep) worked hard at distributing the ball to the forwards and from the back, Amanda Anastasia (Middletown South), Ali Maddock (Henry Hudson) and Meredith Parleman (Middletown North) did yeoman work in helping Brookdale play under control and not get trapped into a kick-and-run game, according to Miller.Goalie Marti Stewart (Marlboro) was tested when Union had the wind to its back, and she recorded another clean sheet with 15 saves.“Marti did a very good job,” Miller said. “When the ball would hit the turf, it took off.”Brookdale’s offense, which has been explosive all year, struck early and often.Rodriguez scored just 6:54 into the match. Duerr followed with goals at 24:26 and 31:47 (she has 28 on the season for third best nationally). Before the first half was over, Brianna Penix (Ocean Township) made it 4-0 for the champions.Ashley Cafarella (Old Bridge) and Kimberly D’Ermilio (Old Bridge) added goals in the second half for the final 6-0 tally. Rodriguez had two assists to go with her goal. Duerr, who was named the Region 19 Player of the Year, was the Most Valuable Offensive Player. Anastasia was named the tournament’s Defensive MVP.In addition to ranking third in the country in goals scored, Duerr is fourth in total points with 68, and midfielder Brooke Tartis (Neptune) is second in the nation in assists with 19. Stewart ranks second nationally in save percentage (.944) and fifth in goalsagainst average (0.47).Tartis (12 goals, 19 assists), Rodriguez (10 goals, 10 assists) and Cafarella (14 goals, three assists) have scored more than 30 points. Brookdale will bring a 17-1 record into the NJCAA Tournament that will run on Nov. 13, 14 and 16.Being the defending national champions has never been a problem for the Jersey Blues this year. They haven’t suffered a championship hangover or lived in the past.“No one is thinking of last year,” Miller said. “It’s a whole new season. I have extremely motivated student-athletes.”Motivated enough to make another strong run at a national championship.