The 6th ranked Barton Community College men's soccer team was dominant in capturing the Plains District Championship this past Friday and Saturday in Cleburne, Texas, to also earn the program's fourth trip to the NJCAA national tournament.
The Cougars took the pitch at The Depot on Friday against familiar foe Western Texas College. Having defeated the Westerners 4-3 in overtime earlier in the season at Snyder, Texas, the Cougars shut down the highly explosive squad while pinning four first half goals on the board in a 4-0 victory.
On Saturday in a battle of the all-Kansas Championship match-up, the Cougars built a three goal first half advantage to knock off previously unbeaten and 5th ranked Cowley College 5-1.
The victories improved the Cougars to 18-1-2 on the year while also claiming the program's 6th Region VI title as Barton will next embark to Daytona, Florida, November 12-17 for the NJCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship.
Western Texas ended the season at a deceiving 7-6 record while Cowley, in lieu of the District's two national qualifying bids, will take a 17-1-0 record to their first national tournament appearance.
Nicolas Torres was a catalyst for the Cougars scoring two goals and distributing three assists over the weekend. In Friday's victory Torres set up the eventual game winner just 6:05 into the contest with a corner kick resulting in Robin Rouaud heading it in then fourteen minutes later pounded the net off his own rebounded shot for his third goal of the season.
The quick strike Cougars put two more on the first half scoreboard with Torres finding Gabriel Arraes on a cross for the Region leader's 19th goal of the year. Eighty three seconds later Barton struck again with Chris Camilli shaking the nets for the second time of the season giving Damia Viader his 11th assist of the freshman's season.
Barton's 12th shutout of the season came was in serious jeopardy with thirteen minutes remaiing by the Cougars' net tender Felipe Baeza turned back a Westerner penalty kick to preserve the 4-0 victory.
With the national tournament bid secured, the Cougars turned their attention to Saturday's battle with the No. 5 Tigers in the dual for Region VI and Plains District championship trophies.
Torres again helped Barton get off to a great start as the Cougars would stick the Tigers into a two goal deficit hole just 12:50 into the game. The freshman from Chile put the first on the board with an unassisted goal for his fourth of the season then played middle man on a perfect cross from Victor Gonzalez to send a through ball into Sora Wakabayashi for the sophomore from Japan's third net shaker of the season.
Gonzalez kick-started the third goal of first half action, dishing to Roberto Hernandez who then played a perfectly executed give-n-go with Mario Magana in striking near post for the Texas freshman's second goal of the year.
Cowley, who qualified for the program's first national tournament in a 1-0 win Friday over Rose State College, cut the deficit to two mid-way through second half action as Ignacio Palacio's 23-yard strike found the far post net in the extreme upper-90.
Magana put the Tigers away in a course of seven minutes, hammer home Diego Ribeiro's blocked shot with 16:30 to play before taking advantage of a Tiger miscue with a perfectly placed chipped shot strike to the far post from 30-35 yards out for the Emporia freshman's sixth of the year pushing Barton's lead to 5-1 with 9:02 remaining.
Baeza rejected ten shots in the two games to lower the Chilean sophomore's goals against average into a nation's first place tie at .39 while improving to 14-0-1 on the season.
Barton scoring versus Western Texas College:
6:05 – Robin Rouaud (3), Assist Nicolas Torres (4)
19:55 – Nicolas Torres (3)
30:00 – Gabriel Arraes (19), Nicolas Torres (5)
31:23 – Chris Camilli (2), Damia Viader (11)
Barton scoring versus Cowley College:
10:43 – Nicolas Torres (4)
12:50 – Sora Wakabayashi (3), Assists Nicolas Torres (6) and Victor Gonzalez (3)
35:00 – Roberto Hernandez (2), Assists Mario Magana (10) and Victor Gonzalez (4)
73:30 – Mario Magana (5), Assist Diego Ribeiro (4)
80:58 – Mario Magana (6)