The Western Nebraska Community College men’s and women’s soccer teams will head into the Region IX tournament first-round this weekend in different locations.
The Cougar men enter post-season play after earning the No. 2 seed from the South. WNCC, who is 9-5 on the season, will face the third seed from the North in Laramie County Community College on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Landers Soccer Complex.
Laramie County enters regionals with a 5-6-1 record. The last time out, the Golden Eagles topped Gillette College 1-0.
WNCC enters Saturday’s contest winners of their last two contests, including a 1-0 win over Northeastern Junior College before wrapping up the regular season with a 3-0 win over Central Community College-Columbus.
WNCC freshman Dan Matty said the team is ready and they know what they need to do.
“To win Saturday we can’t underestimate our opponent,” he said. “We just need to play our game like we did against NJC and Central. We need control of the ball, maintain high pressure, and just keep attacking.”
This will be the first time WNCC and LCCC have played each other since 2016. That year, the Golden Eagles won both contests 1-0.
“Coach told us about Laramie County and we also watched game film,” Matty said. “We have done our homework. We are preparing mentally as well as physically for the game.”
Other first-round pairings to be played on Saturday on the men’s side include North No. 1 Gillette College facing South No. 4 Central CC-Columbus at 1 p.m.; South No. 1 Northeastern JC facing North No. 4 Northwest College at 1 p.m.; and North No. 2 Sheridan College taking on South No. 3 Otero Junior College at noon.
Matty said it is important to win so they can move on into the semifinals.
“At this stage, it means everything. It is the biggest game of the season,” he said. “If we lose, the season is over. We don’t want to lose; it is not on the schedule.”
The women’s regional playoffs also have four, first-round contests to be played Saturday. The women garnered the No. 3 seed from the South and will travel to Rock Springs, Wyoming, to face Western Wyoming Community College at 2 p.m. on Saturday. That game will be played on turf.
WNCC enters post-season play at 4-7-2 and will face a Western Wyoming team that is 10-6-1. The two teams have met twice this season. The first time was a pre-season scrimmage and the second time was on Oct. 5 when the Mustangs won 4-1.
Other first-round women’s contests to be played Saturday include North No. 1 Laramie County Community College hosting South No. 4 Northeastern JC at 11 a.m.; South No. 2 Trinidad State facing North No. 3 Sheridan College at 5 p.m.; and South No. 1 Otero hosting North No. 4 Gillette College.
The winners of the first round will advance to the semifinals to be played next weekend in Westminster, Colorado. The men’s regional winner will advance to the district playoffs the first weekend in November with the district winner advancing to the national tournament in Florida.
The women’s Region IX winner automatically advances to the national tournament Nov. 12-17 in Foley, Alabama.
Men’s First Round Pairings
#1 North – Gillette College vs #4 South – Central CC-Columbus, 1 p.m.
#2 South – Western Nebraska CC vs #3 North – Laramie County CC, 2 p.m.
#1 South – Northeastern JC vs #4 North – Northwest College, 1 p.m.
#2 North – Sheridan College vs #3 South – Otero JC, 12 noon
Women’s First Round Pairings
#1 North – Laramie County CC vs #4 South – Northeastern JC, 11 a.m.
#2 South – Trinidad State JC vs #3 North – Sheridan College, 5 p.m.
#1 South – Otero JC vs #4 North – Gillette College
#2 North – Western Wyoming CC vs #3 South – Western Nebraska CC, 2 p.m.