ROBERT MAGOBET

Both the Neosho County Community College men’s and women’s teams kick-started the new 2019 soccer seasons with wins at home on Saturday evening. 

The first game, which featured the Lady Panthers, had the futbol team win 2-1 over State Fair Community College, while the Panthers won the second game 5-2 well into the night over the same program at Chanute Community Sports Complex Stadium.

The Lady Panthers won their second consecutive game over State Fair dating back from last year — the first time ever playing this team under fifth-year men’s and fourth-year women’s soccer coach Rafael Simmons — when NCCC again won 2-1. But more importantly, the NCCC teams won their first games of the year.

For the women’s team, Simmons said his squad was good, but a few loose ends still need to be addressed.

“For the first competitive game, I think it was good,” Simmons said. “Obviously we want to improve, we want to get better. Defensively, we want to kind of cut out the little mistakes. We had a couple little mistakes that caused chances for the other team. Hopefully if we can cut down on that a little bit and fix those areas, we should be able to be a little bit more solid defensively. But I thought everyone played well.”

Freshman forward Jamelia Bello, who ended the game with two shots and one shot on goal, had the game’s first score with around 20 minutes into the first half — the first goal of her collegiate year. Another freshman forward, Macey Stallings, assisted on the score. Stallings had three shots and one shot on goal, too.

Stallings dribbled the ball down the right sideline. She then passed the ball into the box, where Bello’s momentum allowed her to left boot the ball in for the game’s first score.

Freshman center back Anahi Michelle Ojeda scored the game’s second goal off of a free kick. Ojeda was able to directly kick the ball from roughly 30 yards out into the right corner of the net around 27 minutes into the first half. Along with her goal, Ojeda had four shots and two shots on goal.

State Fair’s Kimberly Rosas kicked in her team’s only goal at the 75-minute mark.

Simmons said his kicking group made a few defensive errors to allow the late-game goal.

“It was a couple defensive mistakes from us. We let the ball bounce and it got by a couple girls, they couldn’t get a touch on it, and then it eventually left one of the opposition players one-on-one and she just put it into the side net,” Simmons commented.

The men’s game was similar to the women’s. 

Sophomore forward Alfie Belcher had his prints all over the game.

NCCC got up 5-0 and State Fair didn’t score its last two goals until Simmons beckoned his reserves to play for the starters near the very end.

A deflection from State Fair enabled sophomore midfielder Renan Santos, who happened to be in the box, to rocket the ball with his left foot in the top of the net 24 minutes into the contest. This goal went unassisted.

Santos, though, assisted the second goal after Belcher went one-on-one with the goalie before flicking the ball into the side of the net 34 minutes into game. Santos registered two shots, one shot on goal and two assists as well.

The Panthers were able to notch an early 2-0 lead heading into halftime. But of course, NCCC was far from done.

Six minutes into the second half, Belcher scored an unassisted goal — his second score of the game — after he intercepted a pass and took the ball into the box to boot it in. Belcher would notch his team’s fourth goal with a third goal of his own after receiving an assisted pass from Santos once more.

Sixty-two minutes into the game, sophomore forward Kristian Colaci Horbunov knocked in an unassisted goal.

Simmons said his team’s comportment showed they were ready from start to finish.

“I thought they played really well,” Simmons said. “This team actually played Kansas City Kansas Community College on Thursday, and they tied them 1-1, and KCK is in our conference, so they’re one of the better teams in our conference. So I expected this game to be a lot more competitive than what it actually was. I was really happy with how the boys performed. We moved the ball well — connected a lot of passes. I think we dominated a lot of the possessions of the ball.”

NCCC — both women’s and men’s — will play Northeastern Oklahoma A&M today on the road.

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