The last chance to take over the top spot in the Jayhawk West was in front of the Barton men’s soccer team.
League-leading and nationally ranked Cloud County was in town for the second meeting between the two schools. Cloud had won earlier in Concordia. That was the difference between the two in the standings.
That difference got larger Wednesday afternoon at the Barton Sports Complex as Cloud picked up the sweep of Barton, winning by a 2-1 margin to take control of the West race.
Cloud now has a commanding lead in the West with a 6-0-1 conference mark with just one more West game to play. That is good enough to clinch the West championship. Cloud, ranked No. 17 nationally, is 8-0-1 overall.
The loss dropped Barton to 2-2 in the West and 5-2 overall. The Cougars are actually a half-game behind Pratt (3-2) in the standings but own a win over the Beavers and will play them again Saturday in Pratt.
In the loss to Cloud, Barton had things going their way heading into the second half of play. The two teams had battled to a 0-0 tie for the first 45 minutes as Barton played into the wind.
The scoreless tie remained intact for the first part of the second half. The Thunderbirds finally put a number on the scoreboard with 27:40 left in the contest when James Nbudueze took a pass from Luiz Felipe and put it past the Barton keeper for a 1-0 lead.
Cloud put Barton in deep trouble in the final 10 minutes with its second goal of the contest. Marcus Gomes made his way through three Cougar defender and scored to the far post with 8:46 remaining for a 2-0 lead.
The Cougars kept a shred of hope alive when Luca Perez scored from 30-yards out with just 1:07 to play, cutting the lead to a single goal.
That slim hope slipped away as Cloud was able to run out the clock without another shot by Barton and wrapped up the West title.
Barton will refocus and head to Pratt with second place in the West riding on the outcome. It will be the first of three straight road games for the Cougars.
Cloud 2, Barton 1
Cloud 0 2 – 2
Barton 0 1 – 1
Cloud – James Nbudueze (Luiz Felipe), 62:20
Cloud – Marcus Gomes (unassisted), 81:14
Barton – Luca Perez (unassisted) 88:53