Overland Park — The Barton Community College men’s soccer team moved a step closer to assuring themselves at least a share of the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference title on Saturday afternoon, as well as a No. 1 or 2 seed in the upcoming NJCAA Region VI tournament.
The Cougars did that with a dominating performance at Johnson County as Barton rolled by the Cavaliers by a 3-1 score.
“We played a bit short-handed, so the boys played a lot of minutes,” Barton head coach Kevin Kewley said. “It was our most complete game of the season — both the offense and defense the whole game never let down. We knew it was an important game and we never let down. We knew we had to perform.”
Barton has won four of the past six conference titles and has dominated Jayhawk play the past decade. Barton has only one conference tilt left while Coffeyville, whom the Cougars are tied with, have two more contests including at a battle with Johnson.
Coffeyville beat the Cougars earlier this year by a 2-0 score — the only loss in conference play this season for a Barton.
Barton jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 16 minutes into the contest when Juan Correa scored on a free kick that slid just inside the near post. The contest stayed at 1-0 until halftime as the Barton defense and goalkeeper Mauricio Vargas shut down the Cavalier offense.
Barton earned itself some breathing room early in the second half when Ebu Camara took a pass from Jovanny Bonilla and put it in the net just six minutes into the half for the 2-0 lead.
It was the 13th goal on the season for Camara, who leads the Cougars.
Correa scored his second goal of the contest just 12 minutes later as Barton’s lead grew to 3-0 midway through the second half, all but putting the game out of reach.
Johnson was able to get a goal in the final 10 minutes of the game for the 3-1 final. The loss was the first for Johnson since early September, breaking an eight-game winning streak by the Cavaliers.
“They a very good team and we tend to raise our game to teams like that,” Kewley said. “That is what we did. We competed from the start and never gave them a chance.”
The win moved Barton to 9-3-1 overall with an 8-1 mark in the conference and region.
Barton will host Pratt on Saturday, still hoping of the outright Jayhawk title and a No. 1 seed in the Region VI tournament. Barton would lose a tiebreaker to Coffeyville since the Red Ravens beat Barton back on September 8.
“We have to come to play and take care of business,” Kewley said. “We can’t look past Pratt, they are capable of beating us. Then we just have to hope Coffeyville slips a bit to get a No. 1 seed. We will just play it out and see what happens.
“It is encouraging that as we get closer to the playoffs we are playing like this. But we can’t have a letdown. We have to keep playing and keep playing better on our defense.”
Coffeyville still has games with Dodge City and Johnson County. The Ravens will travel to Johnson on Thursday.
The Cougars next contest will be on Wednesday as Barton steps outside of conference play hosting Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa in a 4 p.m. kick.