The Barton Community College women's soccer team took an early huge step towards title positioning Saturday evening in Concordia, scoring early and never looking back in a 5-1 victory at 15th ranked Cloud County Community College.
The fifth straight victory moves Barton into a first place tie with Hutchinson at 5-0-1 in Jayhawk play and 6-2-1 overall while handling Cloud County its first loss dropping to 5-1-0 and 7-1-0. Barton's next action comes on Wednesday in a 2:00 p.m. kick at the Cougar Soccer Complex hosting Northwest Kansas Technical College.
The story of the half and perhaps the game was the goalkeeping of Reyna Gonzalez in keeping the net clean for the first 68:07, surrendering only a redirected Ingrid Castro header from Franciele Cupertino's twenty yard free kick.
Rejecting a career tying thirteen saves, coincidentally occurring in last season's game at Cloud County, Gonzalez thwarted nine attempts in first half action with most coming on big time net protections. From full laid out horizontal stops, close range rejections, scrambling to turn away rebounded shots, and winning the battle of 1v1, Gonzalez kept the net clean until surrendering the lone second half goal.
With Gonzalez securing the defensive end, freshman standout Rayssa Neres wreaked havoc on the T-bird defense with three second half goals including the eventual game winner 1:10 after the halftime break in breaking from the defense from Larissa Modesto's second assist of the year to strike far post.
Neres would again outrun the defense with 32:03 remaining as Luisa Souza's third assist of the year delivered long pass was met by Neres to strike near post after splitting a pair of defenders.
After Cloud County cut the deficit to 3-1 with 21:53 remaining in the game, Barton came up with a couple of quality defensive plays to preserve the two goal margin with Neres heading away a free kick towards goal and Gonzalez again coming up with great positioning on the Cloud County recovery to protect the net.
Barton received some breathing space with 13:44 remaining as Laura Maria scored her tenth goal of the year putting away a perfect through ball past the onrushing goalkeeper to deliver on Neres' eighth assist of the season.
One minute later Neres put the final nail in the coffin delivering her 20th goal of the year on curving a nineteen yard free kick upper-90 just inside the back post to complete the hat trick on her 20th goal of the year and fourth game of three or more goals in the last five games.