It was a crucial game in the Jayhawk Conference standings.
The Barton women’s soccer team needed a win Saturday in order to keep itself in the top five in the conference. One of the teams on its heels was the team making the trip to the Cougar Soccer Complex – Allen County.
The Cougars secured their win with a come-from-behind effort over the Red Devils, winning 2-1.
The win puts Baton at 5-4 in the conference with 15 points – tied for fifth. But the team Barton is tied with, Garden City, is 5-5 and the Cougars already own a big win over them. Allen 3-6 in the conference and 7-9 overall.
Barton is still hoping to catch Dodge City in the standings. Dodge is 6-3 with 18 points and has a win over Barton. So the Cougars would need to pass them in the conference to finish fourth and earn a home Region VI game.
For that to happen Barton would need to win its final two Jayhawk games – at home against Coffeyville and at KCK. In addition, Dodge would need losses at Garden City and Hutchinson.
That makes Wednesday another crucial day for Barton. A game they would not even be playing in as Dodge travels to Garden. It is Garden’s final game so the most points it could reach would be 18.
In fact, Barton will know before its next conference game whether or not they control their own destiny as Dodge travels to Hutchinson Friday. Barton will not play another conference game until Coffeyville visits Saturday.
But none of that would have mattered if not for a good second half Saturday.
“It was another step in the correct direction for our team,” Barton Coach Aaron Avila said. “We had to win the game against a good team and we stepped up our play in the second half. We were down 1-0 at halftime and came back to win 2-1.”
Barton fell behind Allen just nine minutes into the game. Allen’s Madison Evans scored off a free kick by Amalia Miranda Cortez.
Barton was able to keep the score at 1-0 for the final 36 minutes of the half playing into a head wind.
With the wind at its back in the second half, Barton took advantage.
A critical five-minute stretch in the second proved to be the difference in the game.
Barton evened the match 10 minutes into the second half when Megan Martinez scored her first goal as a Cougar. The freshman from Garden City took a pass from Jennifer Mendez and buried the ball in the net beating the Garden keeper near post.
Five minutes it was Mendez who put the Cougars on top. The freshman from Utah let fly a free kick from 40 yards. The ball found the far post out of the reach of Allen keeper Emily Mitchell for a 2-1 lead. It was the eighth goal of the season for Mendez.
Barton would make the lead hold up the final 30 minutes of the game.
The Cougars, 5-6 overall, will step out of conference Tuesday for a match with Maple Woods (Mo) before its final two games Saturday and Monday.