Litzi Delarosa scored a first-half goal and that was all the Western Nebraska Community College women’s soccer team needed as they earned an 1-0 win over Northeastern Junior College in the first round of the Region IX tournament at Landers Soccer Complex Saturday afternoon.
The win was WNCC’s 13th of the season and moves the Cougars into the semifinals of the regional tournament next Saturday in Metro State University in Denver against Gillette College. The finals are slated for Sunday, Nov. 3.
“I thought we could have played better but we managed to stick together and believe with each other,” the freshman from Denver said.
WNCC coach Todd Rasnic said his women’s team pulled off the win in gusty winds Saturday that saw the temperature drop from 69 degrees at kickoff to 50 degrees by the end of the game.
“The girls pulled it out. We got a 1-0 win today and we weren’t on our game today,” Rasnic said. “We will rebound a little bit. We will go back to the drawing board and see what we can do and maybe work a little bit on our organizational stuff. We looked a little sloppy today but I can take my hat off to them. They pulled it out 1-0 and we are off to Denver and we will see where we go from there.”
Delarosa said she wanted the win real bad and even dreamed about the game.
“I told the girls it is either go big or go home,” she said. “We made it big and we are not going to stop here. We have a long way to go. We haven’t gone this far just to have gone this far. We are going to go all the way.”
WNCC’s defense played strong but it was Delarosa’s first half goal that proved the winner. Delarosa said she had a dream about scoring in the game.
“I really wanted it,” she said. “I dreamed about it. I couldn’t sleep because I kept thinking of the game. I had a dream that I scored, and I believed in myself and that is when the goal came about.
With the wind making routine shots extremely difficult, WNCC managed to out-shoot NJC 13-7. The Cougars had a number of good scoring chances with the northerly winds. With 11:40 to play in the opening half, that was when Delarosa took a pass from Rafaella Ornelas and blasted the ball from outside the box into the back of the net.
WNCC managed five corner kicks to two for NJC.
Laramie Lake had two saves in net for the Cougars while NJC’s goalkeeper had six saves.
With the way the Cougar defense was playing, the Cougars didn’t need anymore goals as the defenders held the Plainswomen in check for the win.
Rasnic said this team deserves all the attention and they needed a close contest as they move along into the regional tournament.
“I think it [winning a close game] speaks a lot for the character of the team,” Rasnic said. “They have battled all year and you can’t take anything away from the team because they are 13-3. They have done the work and they deserve to get the credit right now. We will see how deep that takes us.”
WNCC will advance to play in the semifinals against Gillette, who topped Northwest College 4-1. The other semifinal will pit Laramie County Community College against Sheridan. LCCC was a 2-0 winner over Otero, while Sheridan beat Trinidad State in a shootout to win 2-1.