The Western Nebraska Community College men's soccer team lost a hard-fought contest to defending Region IX champions Trinidad State Junior College Saturday afternoon at the Landers Soccer Complex.
The Cougar men held two goal leads in both the first and second halves but watched Trinidad score three goals in the final 21 minutes of the match to register a 5-4 Region IX South win.
WNCC started both halves well. The Cougars went up 2-0 in the first 15 minutes of the first half. Silvio Xavier started the goal scoring by taking a pass from Andre Matzuda just 13 minutes into the game. WNCC scored again as Ramses Atahaulpa scored for the 2-0 lead.
WNCC couldn't hold the first half lead as Trinidad scored twice to knot the score at 2-2 at intermission. The Trojans first goal came from Christopher Badibengi 14 minutes to play and then Roch Alico scored with under two minutes to play in the first half.
The Cougars started the second half strong, grabbing a 4-2 lead. Lawan Abary scored first just six minutes into the half followed by Xavier's second goal of the game just seven minutes later.
Once again, WNCC couldn't hold the lead against a talented Trinidad team that outmuscled and outmaneuvered the Cougars. Trinidad sliced the lead to 4-3 with 21 minutes to play on a goal by Biska Biyombo. Six minutes later, the Trojans tied things up on a goal by Satchel Bruney.
Trinidad took its first lead of the match with 12:49 to play on Badibengi's second goal of the contest.
The Cougars, however, kept fighting against a Trinidad team that was ranked sixth in the nation in the NJCAA pre-season polls. Abary almost had the tying goal with three minutes to go, but just missed from within the box.
Trinidad finished with 10 shots on goal compared to six for WNCC. Trinidad won the corner kick battle 7-4.
Viktar Kravets had six saves in net for the Cougars.
WNCC, 4-2, will next be in action Wednesday when they host Northeastern Junior College in a Region IX South conference battle beginning at 2 p.m. with the women's match.