[ By STEVE CARPENTER ]
[ BLUE DRAGON SPORTS INFORMATION ]
CONCORDIA, Kan. — In what could arguably be called the craziest final 15 minutes to a game in Hutchinson Community College women’s soccer history, sophomore Brailey Moeder sparked one of the best comebacks the program has ever had.
Down a goal to Cloud County with less than 15 minutes remaining in the second half, Moeder scored three goals in a span of five minutes, four seconds and then the Blue Dragons had to hold on for a 4-3 victory over the Thunderbirds at Concordia High School.
The Blue Dragons won their fifth-consecutive game and finished the 2018 regular season at 13-2-1, 11-2-1 in the Jayhawk West.
Hutchinson also got a bit of revenge on the Thunderbirds. One year ago, Cloud County defeated Hutchinson in the season finale preventing the Blue Dragons from a Jayhawk West title. With Hutchinson defeating Cloud County on Saturday, combined with Barton’s win over Northwest Tech, the Cougars moved past the Thunderbirds for the 2018 league championship.
The Blue Dragons led 1-0 at halftime when Ashley Venegas blasted a 22-yard shot from a sharp angle left of the goal into the upper right corner for her team-high 14th goal of the season. Both Moeder and Naomi Waithira were credited with assists.
Early in the second half, Cloud County took a 2-1 lead with a pair of goals from Fernanda Peinedo just two minutes, 15 seconds apart. With less than 15 minutes remaining, the Blue Dragon comeback began.
Venegas started it all with a long run up the middle of the field and played a pass toward Moeder near the top of the box. Both teams initially overran the ball. Moeder was the first to get to the ball and she blasted a shot from about 22 yards out to tie the game with 14:24 to play in the second half.
About 4 mintues later, Waithira jumped a passing lane and intercepted the ball. She then played a long pass to Moeder, who shot on the run and Cloud’s Alanya Hannagan made the save, but didn’t control the rebound. Moeder sprinted past her and scored with her left foot to give Hutch a 3-2 lead with 10:29 remaining.
One minute, 9 seconds later, Kaitlyn Sabala was taken down in the box and a penalty kick was awarded. Moeder took it a completed her second career hat trick with 9:20 remaining and Hutch led 4-2.
Cloud County immediate went on the attack. The Thunderbirds were awarded a penalty kick with 6:51 left, but Ingrid Castro missed high. With 2:17 left the Dragons were called for a hand ball in the penalty box and Castro made good on it to cut the Dragon lead to 4-3.
The Thunderbirds continued to press. Hutchinson was called for a foul. The T-Birds’ free kick was deflected over the cross ball. With 48 seconds left, Hutchinson was called for another foul and that free kick missed wide right.
Moeder’s performance helped her move up three Blue Dragon career charts.
Her three goals gives her 31 for her career, which moves Moeder into eighth place past Pearl Slattery and Madison Joyce. Her 23 career assists tied her for eighth with Danielle Sheehy. Moeder’s 85 points tied her for 10th with Slattery. This was Moeder’s fifth career game-winning goal.
Blue Dragon goalkeeper Taylor Camp (11-2-1) made seven saves in the victory as Cloud County outshot Hutchinson 17-10.
Hutchinson, the third seed from the Jayhawk West, travels to Johnson County on Thursday to open the Region VI Tournament.