CONCORDIA, Kansas — The Cloud County Community College men's soccer team punched its ticket to the second round of the Region VI Playoffs, avenging a playoff loss last season at the hands of Kansas City Kansas Community College with a 1-0 victory Friday inside Harold M. Clark Stadium.
It was almost a year to the date since the two teams met in last year's second round. KCKCC (5-5-1 overall) won that game back on Oct. 29, 2017 by a final score of 1-0. And it was a date the T-Birds (13-4-1 overall) did not forget.
"The boys played really hard and felt pretty vindicated after KCK had knocked them out of the playoffs last season," said Cloud County head coach, Charles Long. "It was not a beautiful game by any means, but it was a hard-fought game."
Fitting, it would be a trio of sophomores who helped lift the T-Birds to Friday's victory.
After the two teams played each other to a scoreless draw in the first half, the T-Birds struck for the game's only goal in the 50th minute when sophomore defenseman Wanes Hobat intercepted a pass, cut out wide, and found fellow Frenchman, and fellow team co-captain, Baptiste Bissessur on the cross.
Bissessur, who has played primarily in the midfield this season, produced three shots on goal Friday filling in at a forward position.
"With JP (forward Jean-Pierre Dasylva) playing a little banged up, I put Baptiste up front today. It was fitting for him to score that goal and I was excited for him," Long said.
Sophomore goalkeeper Charles Albuquerque, the two-time and reigning NJCAA DI National Goalkeeper of the Week, was solid again in net as he finished with five saves to record his eighth shutout of the season.
He received a helping hand in the second half as Cloud County's defense, which played the entire second half without starter Tales Avila due to injury. Despite the injury, the back row of Manuel Marquez, David Smith, Paul Fikipo, Andre Smith and Leonardo Santiago were able to clamp down in the waning minutes.
"The boys were able to stay focused and knew they had to defend," Long said. "We didn't want a repeat of Barton (2-1 loss on August 22nd) where we gave up a goal in the final seconds. I thought we played focused and smart defensively those last five minutes."
With the victory, Cloud County advances to Sunday's second round game hosted by No. 1 seed Cowley College (15-0 overall). Game time scheduled for 2 p.m. at Arkansas City High School Field.
The winner of Sunday's game would advance to the Plains District Soccer Championships, hosted by a Region V school in Texas, next Friday and Saturday.