by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC
Kansas City Kansas Community College’s soccer season came to a heartbreaking end Friday.
Cloud County scored an early second half goal and made it stand up for a 1-0 win in opening round NJCAA Division I playoff action in Concordia, Kansas.
The win for Cloud avenged a 1-0 overtime loss to the Blue Devils almost a year ago to the date, Oct. 29, 2017, a win that KCKCC used as a springboard to Jayhawk Conference and Plains District championships and a berth in the NJCAA national tournament for the first time in history.
For Cloud, it was a loss the Thunderbirds did not forget.
“The boys played really hard and felt pretty vindicated after KCK had knocked them out of playoffs last season,” Cloud County coach Charles Long said. “It was not a beautiful game by any means, but it was a hard-fought game.”
The game’s only goal came in the 50th minute when Cloud defender Wanes Hobat intercepted a pass, cut out wide and found fellow Frenchman Baptiste Blissessur on the cross.
Sophomore goalkeeper Charles Albuquerque, the two-time and reigning NJCAA DI National Goalkeeper of the Week, protected the lead by turning with five saves on KCKCC shots on goal. It was Albuquerque’s eighth shutout of the season.
KCKCC got a standout effort from freshman goalkeeper Fabian Keiblinger, who turned away 13 of 14 Cloud shots on goal. Keiblinger finished the season with four shutouts as KCKCC closed out the season with a 5-5-1 record.
Cloud, meanwhile, improved to 13-4-1 heading into a semifinal contest Sunday at Cowley College, the unbeaten (13-0) Jayhawk East champion.