BY SETH ROMSA TRIBUNE SPORTS WRITER
The goal was simple: Win in Riverton 在周六 and the 西北大学 men’s soccer team would receive a first round bye in the postseason. The Trappers did just that, surviving with a 2-0 win over Central Wyoming despite a second half red card to lock up a first round bye and another home game next weekend.
NORTHWEST 2, CENTRAL WYOMING 0
Looking to carry the momentum from a strong week at home, the Trappers (10-4-2 overall, 6-2-1 Region IX) wanted to come out and strike early on the road at the Rustlers (5-12 overall, 3-6第九区.
A slower than expected first half had the teams going into the break even at 0-0, with Northwest needing a victory to secure the No. 2点.
“We had the better possession, but they are hard to break down when they are in around the box,” coach Rob Hill said.
Disaster struck with 28 minutes left in the match, when midfielder Pedro Nunez received a straight red card in a play that saw a Central Wyoming player receive a yellow — putting Northwest down to 10 men with just under 30 minutes to play.
“The red card made it more difficult for us,” Hill said. “The adjustments we made the players adapted very well.”
Despite going down to 10 men, Northwest got on the board first when John Joe Mullane finished off a ball from Artur Dalifor Kataok to make it 1-0.
That was followed by another goal just minutes later.
Mullane once again found the back of the net, this time off a Ricardo Farias da Silva assist to extend the lead to 2-0 to cap off a second half brace.
“We played better than we did with 11 men on the field. It really made the guys step up another notch,” Hill said.
Despite playing down, Northwest continued to pile on the pressure in the second half, outshooting the Rustlers 9-5 and finishing with a 2-0 shutout.
“It was a very tough game, it’s not an easy place to go,” Hill said. “There was definitely some pressure … credit to the guys it was gritty, they really battled hard.”
Northwest did its part to earn a bye, finishing with a win after going into the final day of the regular season tied with Laramie County 社区 College for the second spot in Region IX.
The tiebreaker was not needed between the two sides, as LCCC dropped its final match 1-0 to Western Nebraska.
Both LCCC and Western Nebraska made the playoffs as the No. 4和No. 5 seeds, and will play each other again in Scottsbluff at 2 p.m. 在周六.
That winner will head to the Region IX champions in Otero the following weekend, while Northwest will await the winner of the No. 3-seeded Casper College and No. 6-seeded Northeastern Junior College.
Those were two of the final three opponents of the season for the Trappers in Powell, with Northwest tying Casper (7-6-4 overall, 5-1-3 Region IX) 1-1 for the second time this season and defeating Northeastern (5-6-2 overall, 4-3-2 Region IX) 5-1 on Oct. 10.
Northeastern defeated Casper earlier this year in Casper 3-2 on Sept. 8.
“Two weeks off is nice to rest some people,” Hill said. “Having a home game is brilliant … I hope the community comes out. It would be great to get everybody out there supporting the guys.”
The winner of the semifinal next weekend will either travel or host the Region IX championship game on the first weekend of November depending on results with the higher seed hosting the match.