TYLER, Texas — After suffering a disappointing 3-0 loss Tuesday to open up Pool D play, all but eliminating the Cloud County Community College men's soccer team from advancing to the NJCAA DI Men's Soccer Championships semi-finals, the T-Birds took the field 24 hours later with something to prove.
No. 5 Cloud County put together one final, strong 90-minute performance Wednesday to win 2-0 over No. 4 Parkland College. The win does not advance the T-Birds into the semi-finals — they had to win by a six-goal margin to win tiebreakers — but it ended what was a tremendous season on a high note.
"Pride. Today was about pride and not losing back-to-back games at the national tournament," said Cloud County head coach, James Ross. "Everyone played 100 percent and left it all on the field to end the season."
The victory moved Cloud County, champions of the KJCCC West and Plains District, to 19-1-2 (with a penalty kicks victory) for the season — the most wins in a season since the 2011 National Championship team that finished 21-1-3.
After the two teams played a scoreless first half, freshman striker James Ndubueze got the T-Birds on the scoreboard with 20 minutes remaining, drilling a one-hop rocket past Parkland's goalkeeper. The goal was Ndubueze's team-leading 10th goal of the season.
With three minutes remaining, freshman defenseman Ignacio Diaz Leblic added an insurance goal, and made some friends in Houston, Texas, as he found the back of net to up Cloud County's lead to 2-0.
Leblic's goal ensured No. 9 San Jacinto College-South (TX), the team that beat the T-Birds on Monday, would win the goal differential tiebreaker with Parkland College and advance to Friday's semi-finals.