Kansas City Kansas Community College made an early 2-0 lead stand up for a vital 2-1 win over Neosho County Tuesday night.
The win pulled the Blue Devils into a tie with Neosho for third place in the Jayhawk Conference with a chance to climb even higher with three games remaining starting Friday when KCKCC hosts Johnson County in a 5-7:30 p.m. doubleheader.
Cowley College leads the conference at 5-1-1 followed by Johnson County (4-1-1), KCKCC (4-3) and Neosho (4-3), Allen County (3-5) and Coffeyville (0-7). In addition to JCCC Friday, the Blue Devils play at Allen County next Wednesday and host Coffeyville Sunday, Oct. 20. Johnson County has games remaining against Cowley, KCKCC, Coffeyville and Neosho while Neosho faces Allen County, Cowley and JCCC in its remaining three contests.
KCKCC's 2-1 win over Neosho was the second 2-1 win over the Panthers and earned the tie-breaker in case of a tie. Also, it was only the third loss of the season for Neosho (10-3).
The Blue Devils grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first four minutes on a goal by sophomore midfielder Alejandro Maillet on an assist from freshman Elijah Bathily and then got what proved to be the winning goal from sophomore Ignacia Sarasol, who took a free kick in front of the net from freshman Lucas Santos and beat the goalkeeper with a thunderous kick.
Neosho got its lone goal with seven minutes left in the half, the goal coming when the Panthers beat goalkeeper Boso Pery to the ball for an open goal shot.
But Pery and the Blue Devil defense turned back every other challenge by the Panthers, who got off a dozen shots, six on goal. Perry had five saves including a diving stop in the final two minutes as the Blue Devils staved off countless Neosho advances deep in KCKCC territory.
"A good test for us, we needed to test ourselves," said KCKCC Coach Ruben Rodriguez. "We stepped up to the plate and took care of business. A good win, a big win. And now an even bigger game against Johnson Friday."
PHOTO IDENT (2 photo sequence)
KCKCC sophomore Ignacia Sarasol takes dead aim at a free kick by Lucas Santos before rifling the ball past a diving goalkeeper for what proved to be the winning goal in the Blue Devils 2-1 win over Neosho County Wednesday. (KCKCC Photos by Alan Hoskins)