COLUMBIA - With two minutes left, the Columbia College soccer team threatened to score for the first time since the opening 10 minutes of the match.
While it was the Cougars second goal of the game, it was not enough to overcome a lackluster second half that hurt Columbia College in its 3-2 loss Saturday night against visiting Park University.
Columbia College coach John Klein made some changes on the field by moving his faster defenders towards the midfield to try and create scoring chances and snap the team's two-game losing streak. But Klein said after the game it only seemed to make more problems by leaving players out of position.
"We came in with a game plan that worked for the first 15-to-20 minutes, but they figured out what would beat us," Klein said. "They beat us on speed."
The Cougars were the first to score early in the game when an eager Dylan Barduzzi fought for a header at midfield, which went straight to Lloyd Jacobs who scored in the fourth minute. With a couple more shots on goal immidiately after the first score, both the team and its fans were hopeful for Columbia College's first home win.
But little more than 10 minutes later, the Pirates tied it. And with less than two mintues left in the first half, Cougars goalie Goran Vuklis dove head on for a shot directly in front of him only to have the ball skip into the net. Vuklis left the game after this goal with an eye injury, and Zach Clem took over for the rest of the game.
Klein said Park's two goals seemed to deflate the Cougars and remove their early momentum.
"We were hopeful after we scored first, but lost confidence after their first two goals," Klein said.
He said that tweaking the position of his players resulted in a weaker offensive attack.
Ramone Parker of Park University gave the Pirates a 3-1 lead midway through the second half on a goal that left Clem and Cougars fans pleading for an offsides call.
This is the first time this season Columbia College has given up three goals. Just when it seemed like the night was over, the Cougars' Brian Eike scored with two and half minutes left to make the score 3-2. Keeping the possession for most of those last couple of minutes, the Cougars were still unable to finish off ninth-ranked Park University.
The Cougars will need to overcome this three-game slip at home and find some confidence for the next two games on the road. Columbia College will face Illinois-Springfield on Tuesday and Williams Baptist College in Arkansas on Sept. 30.
"We face a tough conference game Tuesday, and I would have liked going into it with a win, so we have some momentum," Klein said. "But, I still believe."