When Great Bend's lightning-fast Mayra Ramirez got rolling up the field, her footwork and ballhandling is a masterpiece.
Ramirez employed a patented back-tap to her self and directed a perfect pass for the opening goal by Yulisa Valdez. The Panthers sped past Hays-Thomas More Prep 4-1 in Monday's non-league soccer game at Memorial Stadium.
Ramirez's perfect play drew gasps from the appreciative Panther crowd. Once Valdez converted at the 7:58 mark, the Panthers converted three goals in just over five minutes behind brisk 20 mph north wind. Briana Perez converted a high bouncing 40-yard shot past goalie Allison Applequist at the 3:42 mark for her first goal. Hard-working defender Joanna Sanchez converted a 30-yard rocket that beat Applequist on a restart after a Monarch foul for her first goal.
Monarch Izzy Speno converted a goal that beat goalie Casandra Enriquez. Valdez did her best imitation of Ramirez by weaving through the Monarchs' defense for a stylish goal at the 11:26 mark for a 4-1 decision. Great Bend (3-9) won its second consecutive game heading to Tuesday's non-league game at Wichita Southeast.
"I'm very satisfied with the girls," said Great Bend coach Margarita Ayala. "We're working better as a team and sharing the ball a little bit more. We're doing a better job not trying to take things on themselves. It's really working for us now."
Ramirez's switch to midfield has triggered a more dangerous offensive game. She wins multiple 50/50 balls and immediately races the ball up the field. Her constant attacking style was breathtaking at times.
"We took advantage of the wind that first half," Ayala said.
Ayala is also pleased by the defensive presence, fueled by backline defenders Joanna Sanchez, Mikyla Meza and Sayra Solis.
Panther seniors Mikyla Meza, Jessica Espino, Yovana Arias, Angela Enriquez, Paola Martinez, Mayra Vega were honored at halftime.
WAC GIRLS SOCCER
Garden City 5-0-2 8-1-4
Hays High 4-0-3 9-1-3
Liberal 3-2-1 5-5-1
Dodge City 1-5 3-10
Great Bend 1-7 3-9
MONDAY—Great Bend 4, Hays-TMP 1; Garden City 0 Hays 0, TIE
TUESDAY—Great Bend at Wichita Southeast; Dodge City at Wichita South