CONCORDIA, Kansas — Staring at a 1-0 deficit and a possible 0-2 start to 2018, the Cloud County men's soccer team gritted out a 2-1, come-from-behind victory Monday in overtime to upend Northern Oklahoma College-Tonkawa.
"That was a rough, must-win game for us I think," said Cloud County head coach, Charles Long. "We played well, but had some unlucky things go our way. We missed a lot of potential goals earlier in the game. The guys just played with a lot of heart. I'm proud of the effort they put in because that was a game they needed."
Cloud County (1-1 overall) fell behind 1-0 following a questionable handball call in the T-Birds' box called in the 51st minute that led to a penalty kick goal for the Mavericks' Leonardo Fogarty.
With a little over eight minutes remaining, the T-Birds got some payback as a foul called against the Mavericks' in their box set up a PK chance for sophomore Ronaldo dos Santos, who promptly drilled a shot into the top-left corner of the net to even the game at 1-1.
"Most teams fold when they are down 1-0 in the final 10 minutes of a game. These guys didn't fold," Long said. "That was a big goal for Ronaldo. He's an older player who didn't get a lot of time last season. But we felt the goal was coming. We were pressing, we were playing more direct, and it was a matter of time before we scored."
The goal from dos Santos lifted the imaginary lid of the T-Birds' offense, which finished with an 18-8 shot advantage despite the low-scoring final.
Riding that moment, Cloud County make quick work of the Mavericks in the overtime period. In the 93rd-minutes, freshman Andre Smith found a streaking Jean-Piere Dasylva, who lifted a shot over the head of the Mavericks' goalkeeper, Christofer Monje.
While the T-Birds offense was finding its footing, sophomore goalkeeper Charles Albuquerque was solid in the limited chances he faced, finishing with four saves.
Cloud County will look to build off Monday's win when it heads off for a pair of tough matchups this weekend against No. 19 ranked Marshalltown Community College and No. 12 Indian Hills Community College.
The T-Birds take on Marshalltown at 4 p.m. Saturday in the Wells Fargo Cup, hosted by Indian Hills, before taking on the Warriors at 11 a.m. on Sunday.