The Western Nebraska Community College men’s soccer team received a clutch first-half penalty kick save from Ruam Barbosa and then scored two late goals in registering a 2-1 win over Gillette College Saturday afternoon at the Landers Soccer Complex.
Saturday’s win was huge for a Cougar men’s team that was stinging a bit after falling to Northeastern Junior College on Wednesday. WNCC didn’t want to repeat that match and fought hard to earn the victory.
Leo Palomo, a Kearney High School graduate, said they played hard to get the win.
“After a tough loss, I thought we came out and played well,” Palomo said. “The team played hard and it was a different situation because a lot of us got yellow cards but we fought through it.”
Palomo said the team bouncing back from the NJC loss was huge.
“It definitely gave us a lot of confidence,” he said. “Right now we have a set of home games and it is good to get our confidence back and keep on winning.”
It was a yellow-card filled match, too, with nine yellow cards issued in the 90 minutes of play. And a big key to the win was the play of the defense, holding Gillette without a goal for 89 minutes of action.
One of the biggest defensive plays of the match was Barbosa’s penalty kick save that came just 10 minutes into the contest. Barbosa was inserted into the contest after a yellow card was issued to starting goalkeeper Leandro Faria. What Barbosa did to dive and save the ball on the penalty kick ignited the Cougar defense.
Palomo said that Barbosa’s save was huge.
“Ruam stepped up big for us,” Palomo said. “He gave us life in this match.”
The two defenses, in fact, were dominating action. Neither team scored in the first half. It wasn’t until the 75 minute mark that the first goal was scored and it came off the foot of Palomo, who took a pass from Ramses Atahualpa and planted it into the net.
The lead stayed that way until with under three minutes to play WNCC added an insurance goal for the 2-0 lead. This time it was Atahualpa, who took a pass from Ohmar Sissoko for the goal.
The Cougars almost shutout the Pronghorns, but with 31 seconds remaining, Gillette’s Gregoire Sebm scored to cut the lead in half. WNCC then ran out the clock for the win.
WNCC had 14 shots, seven of which were on goal. Gillette had nine shots, eight of which on goal.
Faria had five saves in net, while Barbosa had two saves.
WNCC will be back in action next Saturday when they host Central Community College-Columbus in a Region IX South conference game at 4 p.m.
Palomo said they are going to keep working hard to get ready for the rest of the season.
“We are going to hit the training field hard and keep working like we always do,” he said.