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Three-peat! Cowley Men’s Soccer team captures third straight district title with 2-1 win over Barton


Just hours after watching the Cowley College women’s soccer team win its first-ever district title, the No. 11-ranked Cowley College men’s soccer team made it a clean sweep for the Tiger soccer programs with a 2-1 win over fifth-ranked Barton Community College Sunday in the Plains District Championship held in Overland Park, KS.

The district title was the third in a row for the Tigers, who improved to 15-4 on the season.

“It was an unforgettable Sunday for our team and the whole Cowley soccer family,” Cowley head coach Ruy Vaz said. “Winning the Plains District Championship three times in a row and celebrating with the women’s team after beating a big rival was nothing short of historical.”

On Sunday, Barton struck first as they took an early 1-0 lead. However, Cowley was able to tie the game at 1-1 thanks to a goal by Thiago Apolinario in the final two minutes of the opening half. Sota Nakazono assisted on the goal.

“We were under pressure once again, and the boys understood that we had to come together as a team,” Vaz said. “Barton is a team that always capitalizes on the opponent’s mistakes, and getting scored at the beginning made the obstacle even bigger. I knew we just needed a goal in the first half to bring things back to balance again.”

Apolinario would score his second goal of the game and ninth of the season in the final minute of Sunday’s game as he scored on a penalty kick, and Cowley held on for the 2-1 win.

“Thiago was huge with two goals; he is the type of player that thrives in big games, and I am not surprised by his performance and composure,” Vaz said. “Sora (Funakoshi) and Yuki (Nakamura) were tremendous on and off the ball, and they showed why they have been so important to us over the past two seasons.

Freshman Kamy Ndione earned the win in goal.

“Kamy gave us so much security in goal; I applaud him for his solid performance,” Vaz said.

Cowley, winners of four games in a row, advances to play at the NJCAA Division I National Championships November 17-23 at the Stryker Sports Complex in Wichita, KS. Barton (17-2-3) will await to see if they are selected to compete at the national tournament.

“Going back to nationals is a big win for our program,” Vaz said. “Only eight teams get an automatic bid to the tournament, and we have done it five times in the past six seasons. It just shows how serious we are about being consistent, having a winning mentality, and asserting dominance.”