BY JIM MISUNAS
WICHITA — Great Bend’s soccer team overcame the scorching artificial turf to force overtime with Wichita Southeast in a 2-2 tie in Monday’s Titan Classic. The heat index peaked at 99 degrees, but the turf exceeded 100 degrees at Wichita South.
After controlling most of the late-game pace, the hard-luck Panthers lost to the Buffaloes 4-3 on penalty kicks in Monday’s soccer opener.
Panthers Humberto Alonzo, Simon Hernandez and Oscar Martinez converted their penalty kicks. Chiny Sanchez and Junior Franco had their shots blocked to the low right corner by Southeast goalie Eddy Rachedi. Francisco Garcia and Johnathan Pasos scored Panther goals in regulation.
Southeast’s hard-charging Obedi Mmunga scored two regulation goals and converted the game-winning penalty kick against backup goalie Junior Franco. Southeast’s Connor Inlow, Cedrick Price and Joseph Rivera also converted penalty kicks. Franco blocked an attempt by Abwe Abandelwa.
In the final minutes, Sanchez set up teammates with several corner kicks. Oscar Martinez misfired high and wide. Garcia nearly converted a perfect pass by Simon Hernandez.
“I was proud of our guys because we played our soccer style as the game wore on,” said Great Bend coach Jesus Loera. “Losing on penalty kicks is always tough. But earlier in the game, we didn’t get clean touches and failed to connect our passes. They pressured us really well.”
Mmunga beat the Panthers’ defense (12:53) before Humberto Alonzo fed a perfect pass to Garcia for the tying goal (9:13). Mmunga delivered a second goal (30:13) that was matched by a Pasos goal (24:52) for a 2-2 tie.
The Panthers dictated the tempo in the final 20 minutes. Sanchez and Garcia led the attacking offense up front and Armando Hernandez created several opportunities with solid footwork.
“We had the right idea,” Loera said. “It took us too long to play our game.”
Backup Panther goalie Alberto Hernandez-Leyva played goalie when projected starter Daniel Cervantes was unable to play Monday. Goalie Franco was forced into action in overtime after Hernandez-Leyva took several physical falls to the turf.
Great Bend’s defense controlled play except for the two times when Mmunga outfoxed the Panther defense.
“He did a good job pulling our defenders off the backline, then taking off on a sprint past them,” Loera said. “He did a good job. It took us time to adjust to his speed.”
Loera said the Panthers showed they were in good playing condition and played well in the excessive heat.
GREAT BEND 4, WICHITA SOUTH 1 — Great Bend scored four goals in the final 14 minutes to outlast Wichita South in Tuesday's Titan Classic. After South's Eddie Delgado scored, something clicked for the Panthers. Francisco Garcia, Humberto Alonzo, Chiny Sanchez and Alberto Hernandez-Leyva scored goals in the final 14 minutes.
"We put on a show that second half," said Great Bend coach Jesus Loera. "We followed through on our game plan. We dominated time of possession, but whoever scores the most goals still wins. We followed through by finishing plays and scoring goals. We kept our guys fresh and it paid off. Our depth helped us."
Great Bend (1-1) plays Wichita West at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Newton 3, Wichita West 1; Independence 3, Wichita Homeschool 0; Wichita Southeast 2, Great Bend 2 (4-3 PK)
Great Bend 4, Wichita South 1; Newton 5, Wichita Homeschool 1; Wichita West 5, Independence 1
WEDNESDAY—Wichita Southeast vs. Wichita South
SATURDAY—Newton vs. Wichita Southeast, 11; Wichita South vs. Wichita Homeschool, 1; Great Bend vs. Wichita West, 3
Wichita Kapaun Mt. Carmel 4, Wichita Northwest 0; Maize 3, Garden City 3 (4-3 PK); Salina Central 3, Hays High 0; Emporia 16, Circle 0
WEDNESDAY—Kapaun Mt. Carmel 9, Maize High 6; Emporia 6,. Salina Central 0; Garden City 4, Wichita Northwest 3; Hays High 10, Circle 0
SATURDAY—1ST—Kapaun Mt. Carmel vs. Emporia; 3RD—Maize High vs. Salina Central; 5TH—Garden City vs. Hays High; 7TH—Wichita Northwest vs. Circle
Wichita Heights 4, Manhattan 0; Dodge City 3, Wichita East 1; Derby 3, Wichita Trinity 0; Liberal 1, Wichita Carroll 0
THURSDAY—Wichita Heights 3, Dodge City; 3 (4-3 PK) Derby 2, Liberal 0; Wichita East 2, Manhattan 0; Wichita Carroll 3, Wichita Trinity 0
SATURDAY—1ST—Wichita Heights vs. Derby; 3RD—Dodge City vs. Liberal; 5TH—Wichita East vs. Wichita Carroll; 7TH—KWichita Trinity vs, Manhattan