BY JIM MISUNAS
Great Bend goalie Edwin Chavez was everywhere, saving the soccer game for the Panthers in a 1-0 victory over rival Garden City Thursday at Memorial Stadium. Chaves leaped high and dived low to preserve his first career shutout.
Chavez fended off quality shots by Garden City's Bryant Tamayo, Jovani Munoz, Chris Barragan, Rodrigo Oropeza and Roger Benitez. Chavez leaped high for his best save on a Garden City shot that was destined to be a goal.
"I made important saves that mattered. I made one where the ball was over my head and I tipped it with my fingers," Chavez said. "I felt I did great. Our defense played great tonight. We stopped them. That was a big win for us coming back and beating them after we lost 1-0 the first time in overtime."
Garden City dominated time of possession and constantly pressured after halftime. Both teams played at a fast pace with quick touch passing on the artificial turf at Memorial Stadium. It created back-and-forth play all night.
Carlos Soto made an athletic save and Damian Rivas, Salvador Garcia and Juan Sanchez anchored the Panthers' backline defense.
"Edwin made really good saves. He's the player of the game," said Great Bend coach Jesus Loera. "He's our tallest player and he needed that height on several saves. We were really proud of him."
Panther Jaime Arellenas scored the Panthers' first-half goal on a penalty kick after a Garden City handball. The Panthers (5-6, 3-4 WAC) needed every save since they failed to score after leading 1-0. Garden City drops to 5-5, 4-4 in the Western Athletic Conference.
"It's a conference win after we lost in overtime the first time," Loera said. "We made defensive adjustments. They incorporate their outside backs in their offense and push them up. We kept them back and under control. We had good success."