It was there for the taking, an outright Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference title and the top seed in the upcoming NJCAA Region VI tournament were in sight for the Barton men’s soccer team.
But it wasn’t to be.
Instead, the Cougars fell in an upset and will most likely have to settle for a share of the Jayhawk title and the No. 2 seed in the Region VI tournament.
The regular-season finale saw Pratt come into the Cougar Sports Complex and pull off the upset of the No. 20-ranked Barton men, 3-2. The Cougars will go to the postseason with a 10-4-1 overall mark and an 8-2 record in Jayhawk play. Pratt is 3-6 in the Jayhawk and 4-9 overall.
The share of the title was the eighth for the Cougars since the Barton started soccer in 2001.
The Cougars now await the outcome of a Coffeyville-Dodge City game, which was slated for Sunday is being rescheduled, to see whether Barton gets the Jayhawk title outright and the top seed.
Coffeyville is currently 7-2 in the conference and region but will hold the tiebreaker for the region seeding due to its win over Barton earlier this season.
“It was a very disappointing loss,” Barton head coach Kevin Kewley said.
A lackluster start to the match proved to be the downfall for the Cougars. Pratt scored three times in the opening half, putting Barton in a hole that was just too big to dig out of.
The Beavers scored in the 9th minute on a Maurice Diaz goal to grab a 1-0 lead, which stood most of the opening half.
Pratt added a pair of goals in the final 11 minutes of the half to put Barton well behind by intermission. Callum Strang scored in the 35th minute and Diaz added his second goal in the 43rd minute to close the half out.
“We never got going until the second half and by that time we were 3-0 down,” Kewley said. “We played better in the second half but the effort just wasn’t good enough today.”
Ebu Camara got the Cougars rolling early in the second half, scoring his 33rd career goal for the Cougars, moving him into second on the all-time list just a single goal behind Kevin Ellis’ 34 for the all-time career mark at Barton.
Camara, a sophomore from Hays, scored the goal just more than two minutes into the half.
Unfortunately for the Cougars, that is how the game stayed for the next 40 minutes.
The Cougars missed several scoring opportunities and didn’t find the net again until a penalty kick with just 1:52 left in the contest when Juan Correa made it 3-2.
That is how the game would end as Barton didn’t have enough time to get another serious look at the goal.