Carlos Vargas

Carlos Vargas

CHEYENNE – A quick goal in the second half was the difference in the Laramie County Community College men’s soccer team’s loss to Iowa Western Community College on Wednesday afternoon.

IWCC forward Arata Saegusa controlled a loose ball off a corner kick in the 46th minute and deposited it for the lone score of the contest and the 1-0 Reivers victory to advance to the semifinals at the National Junior College Athletic Association tournament.

The loss ended the Golden Eagles’ season, as they finished 16-2-1. LCCC also lost to IWCC during last year’s NJCAA tournament where the Reivers were the top seed and LCCC the No. 12 seed.

Sixth-seeded LCCC originally had lost 3-2 to No. 10-seeded Coffeyville Community College on Tuesday in its first game of pool play. Wednesday morning, LCCC was awarded the victory after Coffeyville was forced to forfeit the contest, which meant that the winner of Wednesday’s matchup would go to the semifinals.

“We had more energy, more fire, more desire (than Tuesday) and wanted to come out and play,” LCCC coach Vince Gibson said. “We felt like after last year we needed to redeem ourselves. … It was whoever made the least mistakes and we made a couple more and couldn’t capitalize on our own chances.”

Neither team could gain much offensive traction in the first half, but IWCC had a slight possession advantage and saw itself with more opportunities in the box in the first 45 minutes. In the final minute of the half, the third-seeded Reivers had two shots on quality looks, but couldn’t convert.

But it didn’t take long out of the intermission for IWCC to pull ahead on the backend of two consecutive corner kicks.

“We started a little slow in first five minutes (of the second half) and, unfortunately, it was just a corner kick where we just weren’t marking up,” Gibson said. “You get them when you get them and props to Iowa Western, they got theirs.”

The Eagles amped up their assertiveness following that goal and had some opportunities that they couldn’t take advantage of. It was a same problem that that they ran into against Coffeyville.

Early in the second half, LCCC sophomore Carlos Vargas lined up for a free kick from about 15 yards out directly in front of the frame, but it didn’t have enough juice to get past Reivers goalie Yuta Ishizuka who laid out to his right and made the save.

LCCC’s best look came on a free kick in the 64th. Omar Castruita set up outside the left side of the box and sent the ball toward the frame where Imourana Naite rose above the crowd and put a header toward an empty net. The ball went high and bounced off the crossbar.

With four corner kicks in the second half, the Eagles had a few more chances late but failed to knot the score.

The Eagles matched the Reivers with four shots on goal and only trailed in shots 7-6.

It was the first loss for LCCC since its second game of the season on Aug. 21. It finished the campaign outscoring its opponents 63-13.

“The team did well scoring goals (this season), and we didn’t have a lot of goals against us,” Gibson said. “A lot of these guys have been here three years in a row and that doesn’t happen often. It was a historic season for us.”


Halftime: 0-0

Goals: IWCC, Saegusa (unassisted), 46.

Shots: LCCC 6, IWCC 7. Shots on goal: LCCC 4, IWCC 4. Saves: LCCC 3 (Domyan); IWCC 4 (Ishizuka).

Corner kicks: LCCC 4, IWCC 2. Fouls: LCCC 1, IWCC 4.

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