For a half the Barton Community College women’s soccer team was able to hang with nationally-ranked Iowa Central. But the final 45 minutes were not kind to the Cougars.
Iowa Central dominated the final half on its way to a 6-2 win in the season-opener for Barton. Iowa Central, ranked No. 17 in the pre-season poll, improved to 3-0.
“We had a very tough game for the regular season opener,” coach Aaron Avila said. “Iowa Central is a very good and experienced team. We played well at times but our lack of fitness and mental toughness made it hard for us to stay in the game during the second half.”
Barton took a 1-0 lead in the contest when Maria Munoz scored on a free kick 20 minutes into the game at Cougar Fields. The Cougars held that lead until the final 10 minutes of the opening half.
Iowa Central evened the match with a goal with 10:44 left in the half and the two teams went to halftime tied at 1-all.
The Tritons took control early in the second half. Iowa Central scored a pair of goals in the opening 10 minutes for a 3-1 lead.
The Cougars made a game of it when Denise Cuenca scored on a 1-on-1 with the Triton goalkeeper in the box. That made it 3-2 with still 34 minutes to play.
But just more than two minutes later Iowa Central was back on the attack with its third goal in less than 15 minutes of second half action for a 4-2 lead.
Hopes of a comeback took a big hit with 20 minutes to play as the Tritons added another goal and a 5-2 lead. Iowa Central added another goal a couple minutes later for what would be the final of 6-2.
Barton was only able to get off three shots on goal during the game with two of those finding the net. The Cougars had eight total shots.
Iowa Central, meanwhile, got off 26 shots – 18 on goal. Barton sophomore Maria Elena-Garcia had 12 saves from her goalkeeper spot on those 18 shots as she was busy during the afternoon.
Iowa Central beat Hutchinson the following day 1-0 and is now 4-0 on the season.
“We will continue to improve on our weaknesses this week and hopefully have a better showing in our next home contest,” coach Avila said.
Barton will be back on the pitch tomorrow when they travel to Salina to take on the Kansas Wesleyan JV in a 2 p.m. start. The Cougars will be back at home a week later to host Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa.