The Western Nebraska Community College and Northeastern Junior College men’s soccer teams hooked up in a classic battle that saw the two teams playing after sunset.
In the end, the two teams had to settle for a 1-1 double overtime tie that was called five minutes into the second overtime because of darkness.
Vitor Huertas, a defensive player who scored the Cougars’ goal in the first half, said the team played well.
“The team played really well today,” he said. “We played with a lot of energy since the beginning and didn’t stop until the end. I felt like we are still improving game by game and knowing how to play with each other.”
Huertas said it was weird playing when it got dark and having the game stopped.
“It was a really exciting and good game,” he said. “Unfortunately, it was stopped in the second overtime with five minutes left to play because of darkness. It was disappointing for both teams, but we will have another opportunity to play against them in two weeks.”
The match was battle and a physical one at that.
“The game was really physical. However, we are also starting to play physical and tough throughout our games,” he said. “Honestly, games like that motivates me and I feel that the team is getting used to that and playing as physical as any other team.”
The first half was a battle as NJC scored first with 30:20 to play when Dylan Viebrantz-Zavatini scored off an assist from Lars Walczyk for a 1-0 lead.
Six minutes later, NJC was primed for a 2-0 lead when Ivan Luna was set to take a penalty kick. Luna’s PK, however, was saved by WNCC goalkeeper Imanal Munoz. That save fired up the Cougar team and with 15:16 to play, the Cougars knotted the score when Washington Alves took a free kick and Paul Cerros found Huertas for the tying goal. That was where both teams settled at halftime.
Either team scored in the second half. WNCC had a good shot to score with 4:40 to play as Shoto Masuko shot from the corner went wide.
The first overtime was exciting as the sun was starting set. With 7:48, NJC’s Harry Reed had a penalty kick to win the game, but Munoz came up big again with a save to prolong the match. Then, with 4:41 to play in the first overtime, NJC had another shot that went high and both teams were tied after the first 10-minute overtime period.
The second overtime saw WNCC get a free kick after a red card was issued with 7:16 to play. Rodrigo Cercal took the free kick and his shot went high to keep the game going. With 5:18 to play, NJC had a free kick that went high and after that kick, the referee blew his whistle to end the game on account of darkness.
NJC had 20 shots in the contest to just six for WNCC. The Plainsmen also had seven corner kicks to the Cougars one.
Munoz had 11 saves in net for the Cougars.
The WNCC men will have two weeks off before they face NJC again on Oct. 2 in Sterling, Colorado.
WNCC women lose heartbreaker to NJC in OT
The Western Nebraska Community College women’s soccer team lost a heartbreaker to Northeastern Junior College in overtime 2-1 Saturday afternoon at Landers Soccer Complex in the team’s final regular season home game.
“We did really good,” freshman Hazel Cardenas said. “We showed we have a lot of confidence because we have a talented team. We just haven’t been able to connect and we have been trying new things to help us.”
The first half was a defensive contest as neither team scored as they entered the locker room at 0-0.
The second half was dominated by WNCC early. Cali Wright had a couple point-blank shots at the first goal just five minutes into the half, but the NJC goalkeeper kept making saves. WNCC had some more shots later, but couldn’t bury them into the net.
Finally,, with 21:49 to play in the match, WNCC struck as Ashley Ruiz found Andrea Jimenez with the go-ahead goal for the 1-0 lead.
WNCC then went on the defensive as the Plainswomen had a nice shot with 17:52 to play that went wide. Moments later, NJC missed wide. Finally, with 9:25 to play, NJC’s Gabriele Bauman scored on a long shot that went into the net in the upper 90.
The offense kept going for NJC as they had four shots that could have went ahead that failed. WNCC had a free kick with five minutes to play that was saved as both teams never scored in regulation.
The first overtime was exciting as NJC had a shot that hit the pole and then the rebound shot also was off target with 7:30 to play. But, with 7:13 left in overtime, Lindsey Harris delivered a pass to Rosalinda Sanchez who hit another long shot that went into the upper net for the game winner.
NJC had 17 shots in the match while WNCC had eight. WNCC won the corner kick battle with two corners to the Plainswomen’s one.
The WNCC women will be back in action next weekend when they travel to face Western Wyoming Community College in Rock Springs, Wyoming.