Second-half surge powers T-Birds past Cougars

Second-half surge powers T-Birds past Cougars

GREAT BEND, Kansas- The No. 17 ranked Cloud County Community College men's soccer team flexed its muscles Wednesday, earning a hard-fought 2-1 road victory over Barton Community College that firmly put the T-Birds in the driver's seat in the Jayhawk West Conference.

Cloud County (8-0-1 overall, 6-0-1 KJCCC) is up two games on second place Barton (5-2 overall, 2-2 KJCCC) in the Jayhawk West Conference with three KJCCC games remaining.

"There is still room for improvement, but we're getting better and better each game," said Cloud County head coach, James Ross. "I give the kids all the credit. I have the two best captains (Aleksandar Pumpalovic and Saindou Ali) in the country. If I didn't have those guys, who knows what would be happening this season. But all the credit to the kids. We're one step close to a conference title."

The two conference foes played a quiet first half, with the time of possession split roughly 60-40 in favor of the T-Birds. But in the second half, Cloud County got rolling as freshman Luiz Garcia created some space and laid a pass on the foot of James Ndubueze, who tapped in the goal to give Cloud a 1-0 lead with 27:38 remaining.

Freshman midfielder Marcos Gomes then added an all-important insurance goal with 8:43 remaining, dribbling between four defenders after a Cougars' turnover and burying a shot in the bottom-right corner of the night.

"Just a quality, quality shot," said Ross, referring to Gomes' game-winning goal.

Barton made things interesting late, cashing in on its first shot on goal for the game with 1:07 remaining to cut the T-Birds lead to 2-1. But that's the closest the Cougars would inch as Clound County defenders didn't allow another shot on goal over the final 67 seconds.

The T-Birds will have Thursday off before continuing its current five-game road swing Friday against Metropolitan Community College-Blue River. The start time is set for 7 p.m.