Hutchinson CC Sports Information
GREAT BEND – Freshman Ashley Venegas had a pair of goals and the Hutchinson Community College women's soccer team nearly pulled off another miraculous late comeback against the Barton Cougars on Wednesday at the Cougar Soccer Complex.
But unlike the September 8 meeting at the Salthawk Sports Complex where Hutch rallied for two goals down to get a 3-3 draw, the Blue Dragons couldn't come all the way back from a second-half two-goal deficit and dropped a 4-2 Jayhawk West decision, putting the Cougars in the driver's seat in the Jayhawk West.
The Blue Dragons fall to 8-2-1 overall and 6-2-1 in the conference (19 points). The Cougars won their seventh match in a row and improve to 9-2-1 overall and 8-0-1 (25 points) in the Jayhawk West. Hutch finishes 0-1-1 against Barton this season.
Hutchinson had a hard time containing the Barton 1-2 punch of Rayssa Neres and Laura Maria.
Neres posted the first opponent hat trick against the Blue Dragons since 2012 with a seven-point game (3 goals, 1 assists). Maria added a game-clinching goal with a minute to play and two assists.
Venegas had her second-straight multi-goal game and third of the season with a pair of goals on four shots on Wednesday. Sydney Blackwell and Addi White were credited with the assists on Venegas' goals.
Barton struck fast with a pair of goals from Neres in the first 15 minutes of the game. Both goals were scored going against a strong south wind of 25 mph.
The Blue Dragons struggled to get any offense in the first 30 minutes, but finally started to open up some scoring opportunities. With the Dragons' pressing, Blackwell was able to slide a pass to Venegas at the top of the penalty box. Venegas juked around a pair of defenders and got a 1-on-1 opportunity against Barton goalkeeper Reyna Gonzalez and finished with a blast into the upper left corner to cut the Dragon deficit to 2-1 with 10:33 to play in the first half.
Hutchinson goalkeeper Taylor Camp had to make to critical saves in the final five minutes of the first half to keep the game at a one-goal margin. Camp, who allowed a season-high four goals had a season-high nine saves.
Barton scored just 42 seconds into the second half when Neres completed the hat trick for a 3-1 lead. But the Blue Dragons refused to fold.
Working against the wind, White chased down a ball in the right corner and drew the defense to her before crossing a pass to Venegas. She finished with a grounder to the lower right corner of the goal to trim the Barton lead to 3-2 with 11:10 to play in the game.
Barton put the Blue Dragons away with 1 minute to play. After a Hutch foul to the right of the goal, Neres delivered a free kick to Camp's right and Maria headed the ball into the goal for a 4-2 Cougar lead.
Gonzalez, who made five saves, had two saves in the final 30 seconds to turn away one last Blue Dragon charge.
The Blue Dragons were outshot 18-8 and 13-7 in shots on goals.
The loss was Hutchinson's first in seven games to the Cougars on Barton's home field. Now 6-2-1 in Great Bend, the Dragons hadn't loss on the Cougars' home field since 2005.
The Blue Dragons will travel to Garden City for a 7 p.m. game on Friday at Buster Stadium.