Silvio Xavier scored a hat trick and Lawan Abary scored two goals as the Western Nebraska Community College men’s soccer team registered a 5-1 Region IX Playoff first-round win over Northwest College Saturday at the Landers Soccer Complex.
WNCC also set a record with the win, notching their 12th win of the season, breaking the record of 11 set back in 2003. WNCC is 12-5 on the year and the previous record was 11-6-1.
The win advances WNCC in the Semifinals next Friday in Denver against Northeastern Junior College at 1:30 p.m. NJC was a 2-1 winner over Western Wyoming Community College. Other first round contests saw Trinidad State Junior College blank Laramie County Community College 1-0 and while Otero Junior College eliminated Sheridan College 2-1.
WNCC coach Todd Rasnic was pleased with how his team played in windy conditions.
“We actually played pretty good today,” Rasnic said. “We started off well despite not finishing a lot of shots early but we got two goals in in the first half with the wind. I was a little concerned because the win was playing 20 to 25 mph. We went against the wind in the second half and able to put three more goals in. I can’t say enough about the guys. They really have demonstrated consistency and it had propelled them where they need to go in the Region IX tournament down in Denver. We are looking forward to it and I think we will go out and train hard this week and see what we can come away with.”
Rasnic said this team has come a long ways to break the school record for most wins in a season and it is a testament to the players. “I think it means a lot and this team is trying to define itself,” Rasnic said. “They want to make sure people know who they are in the realm of Cougar athletics. The amount of wins they got this season and the consistency they have showed, have given them their identity. I think the things they do now are done with pride and I think that will carry further into the playoffs and I hope to get a win in the Region IX playoffs.”
But, there is still plenty of goals to go, including a regional title. WNCC and NJC have split contests this year.
“We play the winner of NJC and Western Wyoming and we will prepare for them,” Rasnic said. “We played them both and we beat them once and they beat us once. Every game from here on out is a battle. They know that going in and they will train hard for it next week and hopefully we will come out on top.”
WNCC opened the contest with two goals going against the wind. The Cougars first goal came with 29:40 to play as Lawan Abary booted in the penalty kick for the 1-0 lead.
It took less than 30 seconds before WNCC scored again. This time Xavier dribbled the ball down the field and found the back of the net with 29 minutes left in the half. Both first half goals came with the wind.
WNCC didn’t stop scoring in the second half, despite kicking into a stiff wind. Abary put the Cougars up 3-0 after taking a pass from Andre Matzuda. A little later, Xavier recorded his second goal off a pass from Ramses Atahualpa for the 4-0 lead.
The Cougars could hold the shutout as Northwest’s Northwest’s Malachy Sundstrom scored with 10:22 to play. WNCC quickly answered as Thomas Franze fed the ball to Xavier who scored with 9:13 to play and the 5-1 lead.
WNCC had 11 shots on goal compared to nine for Northwest. Juan Garfio recorded six saves in net.