COLUMBIA — In several games this season, the Columbia College men's soccer team has shown a tendency to fall behind early.
It fixed the problem against Westminster College on Wednesday night at R. Marvin Owens Soccer Stadium. Junior forward Rafael Ramos scored just eight seconds into the match, setting the tone for a 4-0 Cougars victory.
Columbia College hasn't always been such a quick starter, though.
Against Missouri Valley on Sept. 12, the Cougars fell behind 10 minutes into the game. They tied two minutes later, but it wasn't until late in the second half that they scored again for a 2-1 victory.
In the previous home game on Sept. 8 against Mount Mercy, Columbia College fell behind 2-0 by the 12th minute before finding its rhythm for a 6-2 victory.
Senior midfielder Andres Acosta, who had two goals in Wednesday's win, said the early lead was a chance to open up the game.
"Getting scored on that early in the game is a killer for the other team," Acosta said. "For us, it really boosts our morale. I get confidence and cockiness on the field when we have an early lead."
Columbia College coach John Klein said he was relieved to score first. He said the early lead also gave players who usually don't see the field a chance to get playing time.
"They're hungry to get on the field," Klein said. "We wouldn't have them around if they weren't. It's important for us as coaches to see their development, as well as to let them see the field."
Sophomore forward Marko Paunovic was the other goal scorer for the Cougars, while junior Matt McKenna and sophomore Brady Wulff combined for the shutout in goal.
Columbia College (5-0-2) plays next at 7 p.m. Saturday at Graceland University.