No. 8 Cloud County puts Pratt away early in 4-1 home win

Cloud County freshman midfielder Vitor Leitao scores during Tuesday's 4-1 home win over Pratt
Cloud County freshman midfielder Vitor Leitao scores during Tuesday's 4-1 home win over Pratt

CONCORDIA, Kansas — The Cloud County Community College men's soccer team turned in a dominating 45 minutes in Tuesday's home matchup against Pratt Community College. With their starters in, the T-Birds netted four first-half goals en route to a 4-1 win over the visiting Beavers.

"The men are peaking," said Cloud County head coach, James Ross. "They have been able to put teams away early and not giving them life."

The No. 8 ranked T-Birds (11-0 overall, 9-0 KJCCC West) not only scored early and often, but did so in style. Sophomore forward Luiz Garcia, who named KJCCC Player of the Week on Tuesday alongside goalkeeper Charles Albuquerque, got the scoring underway at the 9:06 mark of the first half on a gorgeous top-shelf finish set up by a lead pass from sophomore Robert Kelly.

Freshman midfielder Vitor Leitao tallied Cloud's second goal seven minutes later with a rocket from 25 yards out that one-hopped into the bottom-right corner of the net.

The first two goal were SportsCenter 'Top-10' types of goals," Ross said. "Those goals were phenomenal."

Cloud County would add two more scores before the end of the half on another pretty finish by Kelly, this time on a cross from Guilherme Martins at the 27:04 mark.

Garcia, who kept his streak alive with at least one goal in all 10 games he has played in, capped off the first half scoring with a penalty kick at the 39:49 mark.

In the second half, Cloud County was able to rotate in most of its reserves and limit the Beavers (1-7-3 overall, 0-4-2 KJCCC West) to a late goal in the 79th minute to seal the 4-1 victory.

In net, Albuquerque was near flawless in picking up his ninth win of the season as he finished with four saves.

Up next for Cloud County will be its second rivalry game against Barton Community College (8-4-1 overall, 3-2-1 KJCCC West) at 4 p.m. on Thursday.

The T-Birds trip will be a little less stressful this season versus last year when they needed a road win against the Cougars to win the KJCCC West. But that does little to take away from the anticipation of Thursday's matchup, according to Ross.

"The conference is already in the bag, but my team is geared up for this game," Ross said. "It's going to be an exciting game between two well-coached teams and two very talented teams. It's going to be an awesome game and one of those you enjoy being a part of."