BY JIM MISUNAS
Like the "Little Engine That Could," Great Bend's soccer team, kept battling.
That persistent effort was rewarded by Alex Alonzo's second-half goal that closed the gap to 2-1 against Garden City. Garden City converted the game's final three goals for a 5-1 Western Athletic Conference soccer victory Tuesday at Cavanaugh Field.
"We were 10 minutes away from playing a full game," said Great Bend coach Chuy Loera. "We're getting closer. We making good progress."
Loera liked how the Panthers linked passes together to build offensive momentum and scoring chances.
"We're building an offensive attack," he said. "We've got to be better balanced and play more effective in the attack. It's working. We need to do that for 80 minutes. We're moving in the right direction."
The Panthers (2-8, 0-5 WAC) pushed for a goal after being outscored 34-0 in their previous five losses. The Panthers travel to Wichita Life Prep and Garden City next week.
Panthers Gustavo Alvarado and Ramiro Rocha pressured Garden City's goalie before Alonzo broke through for Great Bend's first goal in six games.
The Buffaloes featured enough offensive firepower against the Panthers, who played a spirited defensive game.
Garden City (6-1-1, 2-1 WAC) started the scoring when Jesus Dozal converted a lightning quick goal (3:58). Panther defender Diego Sanchez prevented a Buffalo goal with a defensive save and cleared another threat to help goalie Eli Contreras.
The Buffaloes' pressure delivered a second goal when Eli Ariola (25:37) converted a nice bouncing corner kick by teammate Josh Negron. Panther defender Damian Mosqueda prevented a third goal with a solid defensive play. Garden City's biggest threat was Ariola.
Ariola's pressure delivered his second and third goals of the game to key the Buffaloes' offensive pressure. Anthony Fierro converted Garden City's fifth goal.