After the Great Bend High School girls’ soccer team lost to Emporia, 2-0, at the Wichita Titans Classic, GBHS head coach Gus Prieto said that his team needed to learn to start games strong.
On Tuesday against Liberal at Cavanaugh Field, the Lady Panthers were able to start strong with the wind at their backs, but they were unable to finish plays inside the Liberal box.
With 15 minutes, 30 seconds remaining in the game, Great Bend was able to get a long pass to Summer Bates past the Lady Redskins defense. Bates closed in one-on-one with Liberal goalie Magall Vazquez and knocked a shot into the far corner of the net for the Lady Panthers only goal in the 1-0 win.
“It is really good because we are 3-1 now,” Prieto said. “It was our first home game. We needed this especially after the Emporia game. Winning this game is good for us.
“They can see that we can create a lot of opportunities to score. We didn’t score too many today, but they know that they can create it.”
The Lady Panthers, who are 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the Western Athletic Conference, found success in the second half by pushing the ball over the heads of the Lady Redskins’ defense.
“I talked to them at halftime,” Prieto said. “Try to control the ball all the time and try to stop playing from behind. It makes a big difference. If they can stop playing from behind, and they can rush to the left or rush to the right. It’s really good for us. My team, they did a lot better in the second half.”
In the first half, Great Bend’s offense got the ball into the box six times and took seven shots, four of them on goal. Liberal added extra defenders to protect against the Lady Panthers’ offense.
“I talked to (Liberal’s) coach before the game and they were worried about us,” Prieto said. “We beat Wichita South and they were worried because Wichita South beat them 5-0. They put six defenders behind, which made it kind of hard for us trying to pass the ball.
“We made a lot of shots. They have a good goalie and their defense played well.”
GBHS took 17 shots total, 10 on goal, in the 80 minutes of regulation.
“It is hard sometimes when you are trying and trying and making some shots and they block it,” Prieto said. “But I thought they could score anytime. I believe in my team and I know. I make subs and I talk to them before they go on the field. I told them what to do and I saw them, they were ready. They know it. We had this game and I wasn’t worried about it.
“I don’t think they were worried. They know that anytime we should score on them.”
The Lady Redskins, who dropped to 1-4 on the season with a 1-1 WAC record, struggled against Great Bend’s defense, only taking three shots in the game with only one being on goal.
With time running out, Liberal had an opportunity to score on a corner kick. The ball was passed into the Lady Panthers’ box, but GBHS goalkeeper Stephanie Lomas was able to knock the ball clear.
“(Lomas) is really good,” Prieto said. “She’s got really good skills. I was surprised about it because she touch the ball in the second half one or two times, and the last block was really good. So she’s ready.”