The Western Nebraska Community College men’s and women’s soccer teams dropped Region IX South Conference matches to Northeastern Junior College on Wednesday afternoon in Sterling, Colorado.
The Cougar women had six shots on goal, three of which came from the foot of Morgan Smith, but the Cougars couldn’t find the back of the net with the Plainswomen taking the 2-0 win.
The WNCC men spotted NJC a 3-0 lead before mounting a furious second-half comeback but came up short 3-2 against the Plainsmen.
The men’s contest was a battle for Region IX playoff seeds and after Wednesday, the second through fourth seeds are still up for grabs with both NJC and WNCC facing Central-Columbus this weekend in the final conference game.
For the Plainsmen, they needed a win to stay in the hunt for a playoff berth. WNCC was looking at staying in a hunt for the number one seed from the south. After Wednesday, Trinidad State Junior College wrapped up the No. 1 seed after beating Otero 4-2 on Wednesday.
WNCC’s loss makes Friday’s home conference game with Central-Columbus important. A win Friday would give the Cougars the No. 2 seed. A loss could slip the Cougars to a lower seed. The Cougars and Raiders will kick it off at 1 p.m. at the Landers Soccer Complex.
Early on, the NJC men took control, grabbing a 2-0 lead at halftime. NJC scored both first half goals early within the first five minutes of the match.
NJC went up 3-0 with a goal 10 minutes into the second half.
After that, WNCC started heated up. The Cougars two second half goals were both headers from Lawan Abary. The first came off a corner kick with 27 minutes to play in the match off an assist from Francisco Gonzales. The second goal came just two minutes later as Abary headed the ball into the net off an assist from Silvio Xavier.
WNCC had a couple shots after that to tie including a set piece with seven seconds left, but they couldn’t get a decent shot off to tie the match.
WNCC outshot NJC 14-10 and had two corner kicks to zero for NJC.
Juan Garfio had five saves in net for WNCC.
The WNCC women played solid defense once again allowing a single goal in the first and second half.
The problem with the Cougar women is they are having trouble finding the back of the net. Scottsbluff graduate Morgan Smith had three shots on goal in the contest. NJC finished with 11 shots on goal compared to six for the Cougars.
Jordyn Rivera had nine saves in net for the Cougars.
The WNCC women will be back in action Saturday in their final regular season contest before regionals when they host Gillette College at 1 p.m. with the men’s match to follow.