For the third straight year, the Metropolitan Community Colleges-Blue River men’s soccer team has advanced to the Region 16 semifinals.

For the third straight year, the Metropolitan Community Colleges-Blue River men’s soccer team has advanced to the Region 16 semifinals.

Steven Long scored his sixth goal in four games to lift the Trail Blazers to a 1-0 win over East Central College of Union, Mo., Saturday in an NJCAA Region 16 quarterfinal at Bingham Middle School in Independence.

“He’s on quite a roll,” Blue River coach Dave Owens said of Long, a Raytown High School graduate. “That’s his 13th goal of the season. He’s really sparking our offense now.”

Long scored on a direct kick from just outside the 18-yard penalty box in the 30th minute, and the defense held on from there.

Another Raytown grad, Jeremy Herrman made seven saves to earn the shutout in goal for the Trail Blazers, who improved to 10-7 overall.

“Since we started 2-4, this is our eighth win in 11 games, so we’re playing exciting soccer now,” Owen said. “We’re really coming together. This is our third year in a row in the regional semifinals, and we’re hoping this time we can win the region.”

Blue River advances to a showdown against Jefferson College of Hillsboro, Mo., at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Louis Community College-Florissant Valley.

The Blue River women also will play in the Region 16 semifinals on Friday in a 5 p.m. matchup against MCC-Maple Woods at Bingham Middle School.