It was the right opponent at the right time.
After three straight conference losses – two to ranked foes – the Barton women’s soccer team was looking to release a bit of frustration and get back on the winning track.
Mix in the fact that a winless Neosho County was visiting the Cougar Soccer Complex and the recipe was right for a blowout.
The Cougars rolled by the Panthers 8-0 to snap that 3-game skid as a pair of freshmen recorded hat tricks – one in goals and one in assists. The victory got the Cougars back on track in pursuit of a finish in the top four of the Jayhawk Conference.
“The win over Neosho gave us a much needed conference victory,” Barton coach Aaron Avila said. “It was a good learning experience for our team. Many of the players realized some of their tendencies.”
The win moves Barton to 3-3 in the conference – tied for fifth with 9 points just 3 points away from fourth. The Cougars are 3-5 overall. Neosho is now 0-5 in the Jayhawk and 0-10 overall.
Barton jumped on top with an early lead on the winless Panthers and never looked back. Denise Cuenca scored the first goal for the Cougars less than four minutes into the match. Freshman Natalie Espino picked up the assist.
Just 10 minutes into the game it was 2-0 as Espino earned her second of three assists off a goal by Dominique Milsap. It was the first goal for the freshman from Rose Hill.
Edith Real, Barton’s leading scorer as a freshman last season, scored just her second goal of the season at the midway mark of the half to give Barton a 3-0 lead. Real made her way through the Neosho defense and fired a shot near post for the goal.
Real picked up the assist on the first of three goals for freshman Jennifer Mendez. Mendez took Real’s through ball and made it 4-0 with 18 minutes left in the half.
Mendez and Espino hooked up for the only time during the game in the early stages of the second half. Just 5:14 into the half Espino, from Colorado, recorded her third assist and Mendez her second goal as the Cougars built the lead to 5-0.
The scoring continued for the Cougars.
Hays freshman Brooke Russell scored her first goal and made it 6-0 on a Cuenca corner kick 10 minutes into the half. Mendez, a Utah freshman, capped her hat trick with 15 minutes into the half on a pass from Nineth Fuentes to make it 7-0. It was a team-leading sixth goal of the season for Mendez.
The Cougars put a lid on the scoring with their eighth and final goal when Colorado freshman Rachel Craft scored her first goal on a rebound off an Evelyn Rodriquez-Lerma shot. The second half was shortened by 20 minutes with Neosho down to eight players.
Barton will have its hands full Wednesday with a trip to Hutchinson. The Blue Dragons are 5-1 in the Jayhawk and 7-3 overall. Kick is set for 4 p.m.