The Laramie County Community College men’s soccer team pitched a shutout in registering a 1-0 win over Western Nebraska Community College Saturday afternoon in quarterfinal action of the Region IX playoffs.
The win lefts the Golden Eagles into the semifinals of the tournament next weekend in Westminster, Colorado. For the Cougars, the saw their season come to an end at 9-6.
“I thought we played OK. I don’t think we gave our best performance. We had all the opportunities in the world to finish the game off and get the win,” WNCC coach Todd Rasnic said. “Obviously, it wasn’t in the cards. There were three or four times we were standing in front of the goalkeeper and missed easy shots. They were fortunate on one play and got one off us on a header. That is how the result ended.
“Don’t take anything away from their team. Their team played fantastic soccer. We played well and we weren’t too far under from what we were playing the last two or three games. It is unfortunate that one goal decided the game, but the truth is we had our chances and we didn’t finish the ball. It is something we will build off for next year and hopefully when we get into this scenario again we will play tough.”
It was a defensive contest as both defenses dominated play. WNCC had plenty of chances to score in the first half, while the second half belonged to LCCC.
The only score came with 1:46 left in the opening 45 minutes when Dalton Young scored off an assist from Raul Magno.
Before the goal, WNCC had tons of opportunities to score, including seven corner kicks. WNCC missed out on a prime scoring chance when a shot hit the top bar and bounced away.
After intermission, the LCCC defense picked up even more and limited the shots for WNCC. The Cougars finished the game with 15 shots compared to seven for the Golden Eagles. In the second half, WNCC had a couple prime scoring chances. One was on a break to the goal and the WNCC shooter was tackled in the box. After a long debate, no penalty kick was awarded.
A second chance came later. LCCC goalkeeper Brady Mangel made a save but dropped the ball between his legs. Mangel quickly picked it up before a Cougar could get his foot on it for an easy goal.
With under five minutes to play, WNCC kept pressuring for an offensive score, but LCCC was playing the run-time-of-the-clock game by punching the ball back down field or out of bounds in getting the win.
Rasnic said there is nothing for this team to hang their heads. WNCC finished with nine wins this season and last year set a school record of 12 wins. So, the sophomores have contributed 21 wins to the program since they stepped foot on the pitch.
“I think overall we had an excellent year,” Rasnic said. “We are looking to the spring and get some of our sophomores moved on. I know they will get good opportunities and colleges are I am already looking at players to replace those athletes for next year. I think it will be good for the next several years. We have this pattern of picking up some strong athletes and we should be a force to be a contender every year.”
Rasnic said it is hard to lose a game, especially in the playoffs, but good things are happening at WNCC>
“It is hard to lose a game, hard to lose in the playoffs, especially when you are seeded high,” he said. “But we will just have to pull it back together, push toward spring and see how things go.”
Other action in the men’s tournament, Nothwest College upset No. 1 seed Northeastern Junior College 3-2. Other action included Otero against Sheridan, and Gillette against Central-Columbus.