The Western Nebraska Community College women’s soccer team gave it everything they had on the soccer pitch Wednesday afternoon at the Landers Soccer Complex. In the end, however, the Cougar women, who were playing with a bandaged lineup, fell to the Plainswomen 2-1.
Even with the bandaged lineup, the Cougar women played well, but just couldn’t net the goals when they needed to.
“I think we came into the match with a different mindset than what we should have especially with low numbers,” Juliana Stratford said. “But, you know what, with low numbers it is no excuse. The other team had 12 girls and we had 13 and we didn’t pull through. So, hopefully this weekend we get our heads together as a team and actually connect and get the goals that we deserve.”
WNCC had plenty of opportunities to score, too, collecting seven shots on goal to NJC’s six.
Stratford said this game was a big learning contest for the team and they know they have to be ready to play every match.
“This game definitely woke us up and I can say for the rest of the team that the performance that we had here today won’t happen again,” she said. “It takes commitment, focus, and concentration and hopefully this Friday we will show what we all are about.”
The Cougar women fell behind early as NJC’s Jaycie Dillenburg took a pass from Sierra Hinkel for the only score of the first half with 29:33 left to play.
The second half saw the Cougars play better with a number of shots that came close to going in as well as some big saves from the Cougars defense and goalkeeper Jordyn Rivera.
After playing through a much of the contest with no substitutions, WNCC finally got on the board as Stratford knocking in a sliding kick with 12 minutes to play to tie the game. Morgan Smith collected the assist on the goal.
Stratford said the goal felt good.
“That tying goal felt good. It gave us a good boost of what we needed,” she said. “I wish we had that boost from the very beginning, but it felt good. It was the first goal of the season and hopefully there are plenty more to come.”
NJC came back and had a prime scoring chance as Dillenburg had a penalty kick with 11:15 to play. But, Cougar goalkeeper came up with a big save to thwart the score. As time was ticking down and both teams seemed to head to overtime, NJC picked up the winning goal with 1:41 on an own goal.
The WNCC women will be back in action Friday when they travel to Western Wyoming Community College in Rock Springs, Wyoming. The women will then have a week off before they take on Northeast Community College in Norfolk.