CONCORDIA, Kansas — The No. 11 ranked Cloud County Community College men's soccer team clinched its second consecutive KJCCC West crown on Friday, cruising to its ninth straight win in a 2-0 victory over Northwest Kansas Technical College.
With the victory, Cloud now owns 2 game lead over Barton Community College (7-4-1 overall, 2-2-1 KJCCC) in the loss column and a 3.0 game advantage over the Mavericks (6-4-1 overall, 3-3 KJCCC) in the KJCCC West standings. The T-Birds only have two conference games remaining.
"With how conditions were (Friday), I thought we played very, very well," said Cloud County head coach James Ross. "Biggest thing to me was the shutout. You can't lose if you don't get scored on and our back row players did a great job."
Wet field conditions slowed action between the two conference foes, but would benefit the hometown T-Birds (10-1 overall, 8-0 KJCCC) in their first goal of the game as the center back for the Mavericks slipped while trying to play a loose ball.
Cloud County freshman Guilherme Martins made NKTC pay for the mistake, capitalizing on the one-on-one opportunity against the Mavericks' goalkeeper to give Cloud a 1-0 lead with five minutes remaining in the first half.
The T-Birds received some breathing room in the early minutes of the second half as sophomore forward Luiz Garcia finished off a lead pass from midfielder Robert Kelly at the 51:00 mark. The goal gave Cloud County a 2-0 advantage and continued Garcia's streak of at least one goal — he leads the T-Birds with 11 goals this season — in all nine games he has played in.
"Luiz is playing on an All-American level right now," Ross said. "The kid is absolutely phenomenal. I can't stress it enough."
Defensively, Cloud County had to work for its fourth shutout of the season as freshman goalkeeper Charles Albuquerque stopped a career-high 11 saves.
The T-Birds play in their final regular season conference game of the season at 4 p.m. Tuesday when they welcome in Pratt Community College.