Posted 2 months ago
By John Axtell
The Western Nebraska Community College men’s soccer team took more shots than Northeastern Junior College Wednesday afternoon in Scottsbluff, but in the end the Plainsmen captured a 1-0 victory 1-0 at the Landers Soccer Complex.
The Cougars outshot NJC 20-4 and controlled the tempo of the match for 80% of the 90 minutes, but couldn’t score. WNCC coach Todd Rasnic said afterward that the offense is worrying him.
“We pressured for 75 to 80 minutes of the game and, basically, we just haven’t done well with our outside mids and the forwards in the last four or five games,” he said. “We are trying to work through the issues that we have there.”
Rasnic said the defense, which didn’t give up a shot on goal until 30 minutes into the match, played well again, so the Cougars just have to figure it out offensively.
“We have defended every game very well and we had just one game where we weren’t solid defensively,” Rasnic said. “Other than that we have been stellar on defense and we have worked through the center of the field. We are just not doing anything of quality in the final third and that is starting to show up in the results of games.”
It wasn’t that WNCC didn’t get shot attempts against NJC. The Cougars had 11 shots in the first half, 5 on frame to go in. They also had two corner kicks back-to-back in the first 10 minutes and a free kick from about 20 feet out that sailed over the net.
The only score in the match came early in the second half as the Plainsmen’s Michael Bocanegra took a pass from Kyle Kynes and rocketed a shot that went off the crossbar and into the net after just 50 seconds of play.
“They hit us with a counter attack,” Rasnic said. “They were playing the whole game for counter attacks. The ball wasn’t in our end very often the entire game.”
WNCC continued dominating play with 9 shots in the second half to try to tie the score and force overtime. The biggest opportunity to net a score came with about 5 minutes left when Mark Campbell had a good shot on goal. It didn’t go in and multiple put-back tries by Tanner Sylvies failed to get the ball to go in
The Cougars had three more shots on goal with about a minute to play, but none traveled very far before a Plainsmen stepped in front to block the shot.
WNCC not only outshot the Plainsmen, they also had 11 corner kicks to the Plainsmen’s two. Justine Becerra made just one save in net.
The loss was heart breaking after the Cougars defeated the Plainsmen a week earlier 4-1 in Sterling, Colo, and now the Cougars have to take a 3-game losing skid on the road when they face Northwest College on Friday and Sheridan College on Saturday. The women’s team will also play the same teams.
Rasnic said this team has bounced back from losses this season and he will see how they respond this weekend. “Each game you lose in the season, it becomes harder to bounce back and this team has been very good at that [bouncing back],” he said.
“They have been very good at keeping together and keeping their composure whether it is a win or a loss. I don’t think that will be a factor. The question remains are we willing to make the changes to be more dangerous in the final third of the field. I guess time will tell and we will see this weekend and the next weeks.