STERLING, Colo. – The 19th ranked Western Nebraska Community College women’s soccer team moved to 5-0 on the season after earning a 3-1 win over Northeastern Junior College Wednesday in Sterling, Colorado.
The Cougars 5-0 start is the best since the 2003 team that went 19-0 before falling for the first time in the district tournament. The 2003 team reached a No. 8 ranking. The last time the Cougars were ranked was in 2008 as they were ranked as high as No. 11.
With the ranking, WNCC went into the NJC match with plenty to play for. But, Bethany Fuchs said they didn’t play how they could.
“To be honest, we did not play to our full potential,” the sophomore said. “We started off really slow, not playing at game speed, but picked up the pace in the second half. The second half was better for us because we began connecting passes offensively to create plays.”
While the Cougars scored two first half goals, NJC had a great shot early in the opening half when a shot hit the pole and bounced out.
After that NJC miss, WNCC picked things up as Litzi Delarosa scored the Cougars first goal in the 29th minutes for the 1-0 lead off an assist from Caroline Vieira.
The Cougars made it 2-0 in the 39th minute as Thais Nayara scored to send WNCC into the locker room with the two-goal advantage.
Fuchs said those two first-half goals were crucial.
“Because we did not play to our full potential, the two first half goals were important in creating momentum for the rest of the game,” she said. “The second half goal was key insuring the win against NJC.”
The Plainswomen sliced the lead in half at 2-1 in the 49th minute off a goal by Emali Ortega. The lead stayed that way until the 83rd minute when Bethany Fuchs took the ball away and went in and booted the ball into the back of the net for the 3-1 lead.
WNCC had 17 shots in the contest while NJC finished with four. WNCC only had two corner kicks compared to seven for NJC.
Laramie Lake had seven saves in net for the Cougars.
WNCC, 5-0, will be back in action Sept. 13-14 when they hit the road for conference games at Trinidad State Junior College and Otero Junior College.
Fuchs said it is important for them to stay focused during the 10 days off between games.
“It’ll be important for us over the next week to not lose our drive and focus because we will need that moving into our next conference games,” she said. “I’m really proud of how the team has played in the first five games. A goal that I have for the team is to improve our first half game play. We need to come out aggressive from the first whistle to the last. We need to be the ones who set the pace of the game and come out fighting.”
Still, what the women’s team has accomplished so far in the early season can’t be taken away. As much as anything, though, Fuchs said they want to keep improving and getting better.
“It’s really exciting for the team because last season we were playing to survive, whereas, this season we are playing to win,” she said. “I really have to hand it to the defense because none of this would have been possible without them. It’s exciting to be part of the team right now, being ranked 19th, because WNCC women’s soccer hasn’t been ranked in about 10 years. That being said, we don’t want to let any of this get to our head. We want to stay focused on continuing to improve.”