CHANUTE — It was a match that would quite possibly determine the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference title.
A win by the Barton soccer team would give it an outside shot at the title and at minimum put itself in control the second spot in the conference.
For Neosho County, a win would wrap up the title.
Neosho wrapped up the title.
Barton left town on the wrong side of a 1-0 battle.
Neosho scored in the game’s first six minutes and that would be it. The final 84 minutes of play were scoreless, giving the Panthers the Jayhawk Conference championship and No. 1 seed in the upcoming Region VI tournament.
Neosho is currently 7-1 in the West and lead with 21 points. No one can catch them.
Coffeyville had 19 points and Cloud County 16 points. Both teams are done with their conference schedule.
Barton is fourth with 14 points and still has a date with Pratt left. If Barton wins that, the Cougars will move up to third with 17 points.
Had Barton beaten Neosho, the Cougars could have finished the season with 20 points, assuring them at least second. Neosho still has a date with Allen County left and still could have won the conference with a win in that match.
The lone goal came in the most-unkind way – a penalty kick.
The Cougars were issued the penalty in the box just 5:33 into the contest at the Chanute Sports Complex.
Nelson Landaverde made the most of the opportunity and beat Barton keeper Austin Kail for the game’s only score.
“It was a close game,” Barton head coach Aaron Avila said. “We gave up an early PK in the first five minutes and that was it.
“Both teams battled hard for 90 minutes but we were unable to get the equalizer.”
While Neosho outshot Barton 17-14, the Cougars put more shots on goal. Barton put six of its shots on goal but couldn’t get one past Neosho’s Ryan Davis.
Davis recorded three saves in each half. Neosho, meanwhile, had just four shots on goal scoring on the penalty kick.
Focus now turns to the Pratt contest Thursday.
A win guarantees a home playoff game for the Cougars and a shot to move into third place in the Jayhawk.
A loss could put Barton on the road to start the playoffs. Dodge City is currently 5th in the conference with 11 points.
The Conquistadors have matches with the bottom two teams in the conference and could improve to 17 points with a pair of wins over Allen County and Kansas City Kansas.
A pair of Dodge City wins coupled with a Barton loss would put the Cougars on the road. A win would give Barton at least a tie for third.