Xavier's hat trick gives WNCC overtime win

Xavier's hat trick gives WNCC overtime win

Xavier nets hat trick in WNCC overtime win


                Silvio Xavier netted a hat trick in helping the Western Nebraska Community College men's soccer team to a 3-2 overtime win over Western Wyoming Community College Saturday at Landers Soccer Complex.

                Xavier scored the winner just 48 seconds into the first overtime period to give the Cougars their 9th win of the season.

                WNCC coach Todd Rasnic said Xavier had a big day in the second half.

                "A couple times this year he has stepped up and performed with a hat trick," Rasnic said. "The guy is a special player. When he decides he is going to take the game and put it on his shoulders, that is what he does. I appreciate that about him."

                WNCC's win was highlighted by a second half where the Cougars overcame a 1-0 halftime deficit. They did that, according to Rasnic.

                "I think we came out sluggish in the first half. We came out very slow. We played a team that came to beat us and they came to play a 90-minute match of soccer," Rasnic said. "We had to work out of a deficit the second half and did a great job coming back. Overall, we learned a lot and learned to play with good heart. I hope going forward we can build on it. Hopefully, this will help them in their quest to move forward as we come into the Region IX playoffs that are coming up soon."

                The win was huge for the character of the Cougars after falling 2-0 to Trinidad State Junior College last Sunday. They rebounded from that loss and now Rasnic hopes his team can carry this win into Wednesday's road contest against Northeastern Junior College.

                "We have a game with NJC on Wednesday that is a conference game, and we really need to come out with a victory," he said. "We hope the guys keep moving forward and we don't have any more setbacks."

                The match was intense with neither team finding the back of the net until with 4 minutes, 10 seconds left in the first half when Western Wyoming's Briston Lowell found the back of the net for the 1-0 halftime lead.

                The second half was a battle between both squads for the first 25 minutes. Finally, the two team's offense awakened. Xavier scored the tying goal off an assist from Ranses Atahualpa with 21:10 to play.

                Six minutes later, the same two players hooked up again. This time, Xavier took the pass from Atahualpa inside the box and on his knees, headed the ball into the back of the net for the 2-1 lead.

                WNCC missed on an excellent opportunity to go up 3-1 when Atahualpa missed a penalty kick with 14 minutes to play.

                Western Wyoming worked off that momentum swing of the missed PK as Josh Abplanalp scored with 10 minutes to play to tie the match at 2-2.

                It didn't take long for WNCC to score in the first overtime. Lawan Abary got the ball and drove to the goal, feeding a pass to Xavier who tapped the ball into a wide-open net for the winner.

                WNCC finished with 10 shots on goal compared to five for Western Wyoming.

                Juan Garfio of Minatare had three saves in net for the Cougars.

                WNCC will wrap up the regular season next week with three matches. The Cougars will travel to NJC on Wednesday before hosting Central Community College-Columbus on Friday in a conference contest and then Gillette College on Saturday.