The Western Nebraska Community College men’s soccer team battled the 15th-ranked team in the nation Laramie County Community College Wednesday afternoon. In the end, the contest came down to a second-half penalty kick as the Golden Eagles survived the Cougars 1-0 in a Region IX North conference match.
“We played well. Our offense had our times but we couldn’t find the back of the net when we needed to,” WNCC sophomore Billy Hoffmann said. “All-in-all I think we played pretty solid. We worked hard which has been a big problem with us lately to find the focus and effort. We just played them hard and tough; we just got unlucky on the PK.”
Indeed it was a close match between the Cougars and the No. 15 team in the nation. Both teams had their chances and Hoffmann said his team just needs to convert their chances.
“It definitely was an even game on both sides,” he said. “We definitely had our chances on top in the second half. We had a break-away and we just couldn’t find the back of the net. They got their one chance on a PK and they got lucky. That is the way the game goes.”
The first half saw both team’s defenses step up as neither team scored. LCCC had a nice shot late in the half that was saved by a stellar save from Cougar goalkeeper Bryant Velasquez.
The second half was much the same way as both teams took shots but nothing really close. LCCC finally broke the deadlock with 11:47 left in the match as Jonathan Ruvalcaba converted on a penalty kick to give the Golden Eagles the lead.
WNCC had a couple shots after that didn’t go in, including a break-away that went wrong later in the half.
Hoffmann said when good teams play, the match is usually a one-goal contest won just like the Golden Eagles did.
“That is the way it tends to be in big games when you play good teams like we did,” he said. “It tends to come down to that one play, one moment. We had ours and we missed it and they got theirs.”
LCCC finished with 16 shots, eight of which were on goal. The Golden Eagles also had seven corner kicks and 14 fouls.
WNCC managed eight shots, three of which were on goal. The Cougars had five corner kicks and 10 fouls.
WNCC, 8-7-1 overall and 2-4-1 in conference play, will have a day off before they will come back to host matches on Friday against Western Wyoming Community College at 3:30 p.m. and then Northeastern Junior College on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the regular season finale.
“I think we will be ready for it [games this weekend],” Hoffmann said. “We should come out just as hard as we did today and we should be fine.”