Barton Community College sophomore forward Nestor Morales earned a hat trick to lead his team to a 7-1 rout of Johnson County on Tuesday at Cougar Field.
The Cougars advance to a semifinal game of the NJCAA Region VI tournament on Saturday against Cloud County at 4 p.m. in Topeka.
“I thought we played well,” Barton head coach Oliver Twelvetrees said. “I thought we played really well and scored some goals. Nestor Morales was fantastic today. Like I told you yesterday, he sparks our attack and when he’s playing well, it gets everybody going.”
It seemed as though the Cougars were going ease by the Cavaliers after Morales scored his first goal with an assist by David Major, and Barton defender Mike Evans scored a header on a corner kick to make it 2-0 just 10 minutes into the game.
However, Johnson County’s defense sealed shut and the Cavaliers narrowed the gap on a penalty kick taken by Braxton Vanlandingham.
Morales responded shortly after to give Barton a 3-1 lead at halftime.
Barton sophomore defender Rodrigo Barbosa was injured defending a Johnson County corner kick. He was struck in the head and taken in an ambulance to the hospital.
“That was really scary,” Twelvetrees said. “That was one of the scariest moments. It was a really bad concussion. He’s in the hospital now, and our thoughts are with him. I think he’ll be fine, but we wanted to take him to the hospital just in case. He was knocked clean out for quite some time.”
In the second half, Barton dominated.
“We were a little sloppy in the back today,” Twelvetrees said. “I hate to say it. We won 7-1, but in the back, we weren’t sharp. The second half was a lot better. I thought the second half overall, was very good. We absolutely destroyed them the second half.”
The Cougars controlled the ball for most of the 45 minutes and had ample chances to score, finishing the game with 20 shots on goal. Johnson County finished with four.
Fabio Priore, Carl Ekstam, Andre Souza and Morales each scored a goal in the second half.
NJCAA REGION VI
At Great Bend
Johnson County 1 0 — 1
Barton 3 4 — 7
First half — BCC: Nestor Morales (assist David Major), third minute; BCC: Mike Evans, fifth; JC: Braxton Vanlandingham, 28th; BCC: Morales (assist Igor Barbosa), 23rd
Second half — BCC: Fabio Priore (assist Morales). 56th; BCC: Morales (assist Gonzalo Gelso), 70th; BCC: Carl Ekstam (assist Johnson Shaad), 76th; BCC: Andre Souza, 88th