On the surface, the defense has been solid for the Barton men’s soccer team all season long.
It would appear that the Achilles Heel for the Cougars has been on the offensive end. Barton has given up two goals just twice and a combined six for the year.
Wednesday afternoon the Cougars picked up their fifth shutout of the season with a 2-0 blanking of Garden City on the road.
The win snapped a brief 2-game losing streak for the Cougars.
But Coach Mike Brown sees it entirely different.
“I would say our weak point in our losses has been our defense,” Coach Brown said. “I felt in two of those losses our defense was very poor. In fact we made some changes to give us more coverage on the defensive end and to free up some players to become more successful.”
Barton is now 3-3 in the West and 6-3 overall. That puts the Cougars third in the West but tied for second in the loss column with Pratt (4-3). Garden City is now 1-5 in the West and 9-7 overall.
Barton took control of the contest early, getting a goal from sophomore standout Lucas Alves just 3:35 into the contest. Alves found the net off a 40-yard free kick.
That would prove to be all the Cougars needed but they would get more.
It would again come from Alves. This time early in the second half when the Brazilian took a diagonal pass from Mario Ramirez and fired the ball in the box passed the Broncbusters’ keeper for a 2-0 lead.
The defense was solid all game long.
“When we are defensively strong we wear other teams down,” Coach Brown said. “We are a hard team to play and can be very frustrating. We are strong in our ability to control the ball and strong in our ability to counter as well.”
Barton is on the road again Saturday when it travels to Goodland to take on Northwest Tech in non-conference action. Northwest Tech is fresh off a 2-2 tie with Pratt.
“This is a rough part of our schedule,” Coach Brown said. “We had Cloud at home, then at Pratt, then at Garden, now off to Northwest Tech and then get Garden again at home all in about 12 days. That is a gauntlet.
“I feel we are starting to figure things out. Through our two losses I said just get us one win here and we might get hot. We could become a scary team to play.”
The game Saturday will figure big into the seeding for the Region VI tournament at the end of the regular season. Kickoff is set for 4 pm.
Barton 2, Garden City 0
Barton 1 1 – 2
Garden City 0 0 – 0
Barton – Lucas Alves (unassisted), 3:35
Barton – Alves (Mario Ramirez), 57:00