BY JIM MISUNAS
Her dad’s soccer team lost 10-0, but 2-year-old Ella Loera was proud of her father Chuy Loera, Great Bend’s coach, who gave his daughter a postgame hug.
Loera was equally proud of his Panthers, who battled with a spirited effort against Western Athletic Conference powerhouse Dodge City. Time-after-time, Panther defenders hustled to challenge waves of Red Demon attacks.
Panther forward Alex Alonzo delivered the game’s highlight defensive save with an amazing diving header that prevented a 10-0 halftime score.
"Alex gave us a defensive boost," Loera said. "That was fun. That type of defensive play doesn't happen often."
Panther defenders Pedro Enriguez, Marcos Castanon, Damian Mosqueda, Diego Sanchez and midfielder Gustavo Alvarado played aggressively without fouls or yellow cards to back up Panther goalie Eli Contreras, who made several dazzling saves.
"We wanted to put passes together to give us an opportunity to score," Loera said. "Experience and depth beat us today. Credit to them because they are a fantastic soccer team from top-to-bottom. They scored some good goals, but I'm happy we made them work."
Great Bend (2-7, 0-4 WAC) plays Garden City Tuesday.
"Our effort was there. We kept working and gave ourselves a chance," Loera said. " The scoreboard doesn't say it, but we are getting better."
Dodge City’s left-footed standout Aron Martinez Melendez was spectacular with a school record six first-half goals. He scored Dodge City’s first two goals and converted four more before halftime. His prettiest goal was a twisting rocket from 30 yards. He's scored 17 goals in seven games.
"I was shocked after my fourth goal because I've never had more than a 'hat trick.' My teammates fed me some great passes" he said. "I tried to hit the back of the net."
Dodge City's Angel Lopez Ortiz tallied two goals and Mario Olivares and Francisco Melendez-Utrilla scored goals. Dodge City (7-0, 3-0 WAC) has outscored foes 45-3.
Dodge City 9 1—10
Great Bend 0 0—0
FIRST HALF—DC— Aron Martinez Melendez, assist Vazquez Lorenzo, 5:45; DC—Martinez Melendez, 10:57; DC—Angel Lopez Ortiz, assist Olivares, 14:49; DC—Martinez Melendez, 17:30; DC—Martinez Melendez, assist Garcia, 18:52; DC—Angel Lopez Ortiz, 23:09; DC—Mario Olivares, 31:43; DC—Martinez Melendez, 33:00; DC—Martinez Melendez, 33:51
SECOND HALF—DC—Francisco Hernandez-Utrilla, assist Lopez/Ortiz, 40:53.