The Garden City High School boys’ soccer team sprung ahead of Great Bend 2-0 in the first half on Tuesday.
The Panthers pulled within one, but the Buffaloes stacked their players in defense to hold on for a 2-1 Western Athletic Conference win at Cavanaugh Field.
“It was a little bit of a surprise,” GBHS head coach Gus Prieto said. “We started out normal for a little bit, but that first goal was surprising.
“That second goal was our mistake. We’re not 100 percent. We weren’t focused. That shouldn’t have happened.”
Diego Benitez punched in a shot on a free kick outside the goalies’ box. The shot glanced off Great Bend goalkeeper Claudio Sanchez’s gloves, and bounced off the right goalpost and into the net.
Emilio Castillo gave Garden City a 2-0 cushion 10 minutes later. Castillo got the ball on a long pass past Great Bend’s defense and Sanchez came out of the goal to contest the shot, but Castillo punched the ball into the goal.
With the two-goal lead, the Buffaloes pulled back their midfielders to defend, packing as many as 10 players in the backfield.
“They just came looking for one goal,” Prieto said. “They just came to defend. They got lucky. Sometimes they score early, and then we can’t come back.”
With 12 minutes remaining in the game, the Panthers chopped the deficit in half.
Junior midfielder Ivan Galindo lobbed a shot over the Buffaloes. The shot slipped through the fingers of Garden City goalkeeper Cesar Solorzano and into the net.
Garden City had 10 shots, six in the first half. Great Bend finished with seven shots.
The Panthers, who are 7-3 overall, 3-2 in WAC play, host Thomas More Prep Marian on Tuesday for their final home game of the season. The junior varsity starts playing at 4 p.m.
It will be senior recognition night between the JV and varsity games.