T-Birds' historic season ends after 2-1 loss to Harford during NJCAA DI Women's Soccer Championships

Freshman goalkeeper Alanya Hannigan makes one of her six saves during Tuesday's national tournament game against Harford
Freshman goalkeeper Alanya Hannigan makes one of her six saves during Tuesday's national tournament game against Harford

MELBOURNE, Florida — The No. 11 seed Cloud County Community College women's soccer team had its historic season come to an end Tuesday with a 2-1 loss to No. 7 seed Harford during the second round of Pool B play at the NJCAA DI Women's Soccer Championships held in Melbourne, Florida.

Cloud County, a reactivated program playing its first season since 2013, finishes the 2017 campaign with a 15-5 overall record; the program's most wins in a season since going 16-4 in 2011. This year's T-Birds also achieved the first KJCCC West title and first trip to the national tournament in school history.

"Writing history is always a special thing and the group of girls were phenomenal on and off the field," said Cloud County head coach, James Ross. "A true joy to be around."

The T-Birds and Owls (19-1 overall) played each other to a draw through the first 45 minutes as each team struggled to generate scoring chances against one another.

Harford broke through for the game's first goal at the 62:29 mark when Rachel Bohli scored off a free kick opportunity just outside the T-Birds' box.

Cloud County answered back 17 minutes later on a set piece of its own as freshman Abigail Conway chipped in a corner kick by sophomore Angie Vergara, beating Harford's goalkeeper to the bottom-right side of net for her eighth goal of the season

"Abbie was phenomenal both games," Ross said.

It appeared the two teams were destined to battle it out in extra time, but with 9:33 remaining Alexandria Adams got a step on Cloud County's back row and was able to lift a shot from 20 yards out over the outstretched hand of Cloud goalkeeper, Alanya Hannigan.

The T-Birds had two chances to tie late on a free kick by freshman defenseman Ingrid Castro, which went high of the crossbar with 30 ticks remaining. And then one final gasp with five seconds remaining off another free kick by Castro that freshman forward Joana Villanova was able to get her head on, but unable to push past the goalkeeper.

"The girls stuck to the game plan and played much better (Tuesday), just came up a little short," Ross said. "I know what I have to add to this team for next year for another national tournament run."

Cloud County is currently only projected to lose four sophomore players from this year's team in Kiley Schmidtberger, Michaela Clifton, Ingrid Silva and Vergara, who finishes the season second on the team in total points with 35.