The Dodge City Conquistadors overcame a 6-2 halftime shot deficit, and a 12-6 overall shot deficit, to beat the Northern Oklahoma College - Tonkawa Mavericks 2-0 Wednesday evening.
The win moves the Conqs to 3-1 overall this season. Their next game commences their Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference slate, and starts Sept. 5, when they head to Pratt to take on the Pratt Community College Beavers. Game time is scheduled for 4 p.m.
Wednesday's game was a mostly even battle through the first half, but with 40:38 left in the second half, Conquistador sophomore Connor O'Neill let loose a strike from about 25 yards out. His shot went right into the center back of the net to give the Conquistadors a 1-0 lead.
"I saw the ball coming across the field and I let it go across my body to my left foot," O'Neill said. "As soon as I hit it, I saw it was going right at the keeper, but I think I hit it with a little too much pace for him, so I was happy with that, but just gotta give God the glory on that one."
The goal helped a team that was outshot throughout. Early in the game, it appeared the bulk of the possession belonged to the Mavericks, something O'Neill agreed with.
"They were definitely controlling it earlier," O'Neill said.
O'Neill said the head coach Oscar Zelaya wanted them to bring the ball forward more instead of sitting back with it, so they tried attacking more and it worked.
O'Neill's goal came in the 50th minute, while sophomore Johnley Dezile put home the insurance goal in the 89th minute. The Conqs almost scored in the final minute, but a would-be-third goal was waved off due to offsides.
Until then, the Conquistador defense had to hold off what was a consistent Maverick attack.
"Obviously the defense was strong," O'Neill said. "That's always something that we love. Our balls coming out of the back are always gonna be good, we don't have to worry about that, so we can really play well in the midfield with that."
Strong defense like the team showed Wednesday helps the whole operation work.
"Our defense being able to possess the ball as well as they can gives the center-mids and the outside-mids and the forward a lot more room to move off the ball, which is super nice," O'Neill said. "The coach's play style, with counterattacking, it gives us a lot more opportunity to play freely and get the ball from back, to our forward, to our center-mid and out wide."
Zelaya said he thought the hard work the players put in helped them prevail Wednesday.
"We knew it was gonna be a hard game, we knew what to expect from them," Zelaya said. "I did some research on them that worked out but in the end it's just what the kids put in, the work that they put. They knew that they had to come hard all the way to the end because it happened already and they had that mentality (of) what happened to us (in) our home-opener game but it worked out. It worked out, we did our job, got a win and I think the kids are excited."