No. 11 Indian Hills snaps No. 6 Cloud County's 12-game win streak

Cloud County sophomore forward Rafael Santos (No. 7) during Wednesday's 1-0 loss to No. 11 Indian Hills
Cloud County sophomore forward Rafael Santos (No. 7) during Wednesday's 1-0 loss to No. 11 Indian Hills

CONCORDIA, Kansas —  The No. 6 Cloud County Community College men's soccer team had its 12-game winning streak snapped on Wednesday, concluding the regular season with a tough 1-0 loss to non-conference foe, No. 11 ranked Indian Hills Community College.

"To me, that was like a final four game at the national tournament," said Cloud County head coach, James Ross. "(The Warriors) back four were really good. They had big, fast and physical forwards. We made a mistake in the midfield and that was the game."

Indian Hills (14-2 overall) took advantage of a missed assignment by the T-Birds, which sprung Warriors' forward Akean Shackleford, who slipped a slide tackle attempt and squeezed a shot past Cloud County goalkeeper Charles Albuquerque at the 64:56 mark of the second half.

Cloud County, which was limited to seven shots Wednesday, tried to make a push with a pair of late corner kick opportunities, but couldn't create a true scoring chance against the stingy Warriors back row.

"We just didn't create enough chances," Ross said. "Indian Hills had a good scouting report on Luiz and took away our plays to the corners. Fair and square, they were the better team today."

The T-Birds' comeback hopes suffered another blow with 5:50 remaining when sophomore forward Luiz Garcia took an accidental elbow to the head, requiring he be transported to the hospital via ambulance. Play was halted as medics attended to Garcia, who appeared to fortunately avoid a serious injury.

"We were told there is no concussion, just basically a 'Charlie Horse' to the neck," Ross said. "We anticipate he'll be back by the playoffs."

In net, Albuquerque was the tough-luck losing goalkeeper despite a strong performance that saw he stop eight of his nine chances.

Cloud County will aim to make Wednesday's defeat a learning experience as it prepares for postseason play, which begins next Thursday with the first rounds of the Region VI Tournament. The T-Birds are tentatively scheduled to host Johnson County Community College at 1 p.m.

"This was the best team we've played all year and (Wednesday) can be a good loss for us just like the one against Northern Oklahoma College-Tonkawa," Ross said. "We came back after that and won 12 straight. Now we need to win four games and we're back at the national tournament.