PRATT — It was been a rough week for the Barton Community College men’s soccer team.
To start the week, the Cougars still had an outside shot at a conference title, controlled its own destiny for at least a second place finish as well as a home playoff game. A pair of losses later the Cougars will open Region VI play on the road.
Barton lost its second game of the week Thursday afternoon in Pratt, falling to the Beavers by a 2-1 score.
That dropped Barton from a possible tie for third to sixth in the conference, putting the Cougars on the road to start the post season.
Earlier in the week Barton dropped a 1-0 decision at Jayhawk champion Neosho County.
“It was a frustrating game with too many missed opportunities,” Barton head coach Aaron Avila said.
Barton took a lead late in the first half but a quick flurry by Pratt midway through the second half gave the Beavers the win and vaulted them ahead of Barton in the standings.
The Cougars end the regular season with a 4-3-2 Jayhawk Conference record and 6-4-3 overall. Pratt finished 5-4 and 8-6. The Cougars ended with 14 points while the win pushed Pratt to 15 points and into fifth.
A Barton win would have given them 17 points and tied for third with Dodge City. Instead Barton will now most likely travel to Dodge to start Region VI Thursday.
The regular season finale was scoreless for most of the opening half before Barton took a 1-0 lead late.
Freshman Renan Sousa gave the Cougars the lead when he put back a Jiro Barriga Toyama shot that hit the post with 7:20 to play in the opening stanza.
But that changed in a short span in the second half.
Pratt was awarded a penalty kick — the second Barton has given up in its last two games. The Beavers converted it then scored moments later to take a 2-1 lead with 25:33 left to play in the game.
“We controlled the first half but were only able to finish one opportunity,” Avila said. “The penalty kick tied the game and after that the game got out of control with multiple cards given to both teams.
“Pratt was able to finish one of their opportunities and that was enough for them to win the game.”
Neither team would score the remainder of the way, giving the host Beavers the win.
Now Barton will turn focus the post season, which opens Thursday. The Cougars should have every opportunity to do well in the post season despite the lower seed.
The Cougars tied Dodge City earlier this season at Barton Sports Complex 1-all. Two of the three Barton conference losses came by a single goal and in both cases the opponents had a penalty kick goal in that contest.
Second round play with be at home sites on Sunday with the two remaining Region VI teams moving to a 4-team event at Topeka that will also feature one team from Oklahoma and one team from Texas for the right move on to the NJCAA National Tournament.