CONCORDIA, Kansas — The Cloud County Community College women's soccer team fell just shy of its second consecutive KJCCC West title as the T-Birds lost a wild 4-3, back-and-forth affair on Saturday to Hutchinson Community College at Harold M. Clark Stadium.
With the loss, the T-Birds (14-2 overall, 12-2 KJCCC West) finish second in the KJCCC West standings behind No. 19 ranked Barton (13-3-1 overall, 12-1-1 KJCCC West) and will enter Thursday's first round of the Region VI Tournament as the No. 2 seed.
Cloud County will play at 1 p.m. that Thursday at Harold M. Clark Stadium against either Coffeyville or Neosho County, both of which have one conference game remaining, as of Saturday afternoon, and are tied for third in the KJCCC East standings.
As for Saturday's game, the T-Birds were able to rally back from a 1-0 halftime deficit to take a 2-1 lead just five minutes into the second half thanks to a pair of quick strikes by freshman forward Fernanda Peinado.
Peinado scored her first goal 2:44 into the second half after settling down a pass from sophomore Abigail Conway, then turning and firing a shot into the back-right corner to make it a 1-1 game.
Less than three minutes later, a foul just outside the Hutchinson (13-2-1 overall, 11-2-1 KJCCC East) set up a free kick opportunity for Peinado, who blast a shot off the fingertips of Hutchinson goalkeeper, Taylor Camp.
The two goals extended Peinado's team lead in goals scored, giving her 18 on the season.
Unfortunately for the T-Birds, they were unable to hold on to the lead as Hutchinson sophomore Brailey Moeder exploded for three goals in a five-minute span to turn a 2-1 Cloud County lead into a 4-2 lead for the Blue Dragons.
Moeder's first goal came off a Cloud County turnover in front of its own box to tie the game at 2-2 with 14:24 remaining.
About four minutes later, Moeder got loose along the left side. Her initial shot was saved by Cloud County sophomore goalkeeper Alanya Hannigan, but the rebound popped back to Moeder for the go-ahead goal with 10:34 remaining.
Moeder completed the hat trick with 9:15 remaining as a penalty called on Cloud County inside the goalkeeper's box set up a penalty kick to make it a 4-2 lead for Hutchinson.
The T-Birds tried to rally as they had two penalty kick chances in the final nine minutes, the second coming with 2:17 remaining that was cashed in by sophomore defenseman Ingrid Castro to cut the deficit to 4-3.
Cloud County had one last chance to tie the score when Castro took a free kick from approximately 40 yards out and a header attempt sophomore Joana Villanova sailed just over the crossbar with 1:40 left in regulation.
The T-Birds will look to shake off Saturday's loss when they begin the Region VI Tournament at 1 p.m. Thursday at Harold M. Clark Stadium. If Cloud County wins on Thursday, it would play its second-round game at 2 p.m. Saturday. The site of that game would be determined by whichever team is the higher seed.