Great Bend Panther Alondra Espino was so shocked, she collapsed to the ground.
Hays High goalie Isabel Robben walked away in disgust. Her teammates were in disbelief at Cavanaugh Field.
Espino delivered an improbable, almost impossible 1-0 upset victory over Western Athletic Conference leader Hays with the game-winner in overtime.
The Panthers’ celebration brought the team to happy tears as they mobbed Espino. She fired a rocket shot that Robben stopped before the ball magically rolled into the goal 1:33 into overtime. Espino will always treasure her second goal of the season on a perfect 70-degree day blessed by light wind.
“It was a surprising moment,” Espino said. “I was going to take that shot — miss or make. I thought she caught it. I was really surprised.”
The Panthers (3-5, 2-4 WAC) snapped a four-game losing streak that started with a 2-0 loss to Hays. The Panthers play Dodge City (3-6-1, 1-2-1 WAC) Thursday. The Indians (7-3-1, 4-1-1) lost their first WAC game.
“This was our best game of the year,” Espino said. “They beat us the first time we met and we beat them this time.”
Great Bend coach Margarita Ayala had been preaching to her team they were capable of achieving amazing feats if they keep progressing.
“It takes time. This means we’re getting there as a soccer team,” Ayala said. “We’re communicating much better on the field. I see progress. If they keep listening and doing things we ask them, we’re going to keep getting better. I’ve got two great assistant coaches who really help.”
The Panthers slowed wave-after-wave of Indian second-half threats off accurate corner kicks and superior ball possession. Allison Shubert bounced a shot off the goalpost among several quality chances. Maggie Robben shot wide with goalie Ellie Anspaugh out of position.
Panther defender Joanna Sanchez anchored the defense with fearless play. Mikyla Meza and Abby MacKinny also helped turn back scoring chances with defensive plays.
Great Bend stressed short passing and worked the ball effectively to open areas the first half. The Panthers created a few scoring opportunities, typically when Espino or Diana Quiroz tried to set up high-scoring midfielder Mayra Ramirez.
WESTERN ATHLETIC GIRLS
Hays High 4-1-1 7-3-1
Garden City 3-1-2 8-3-2
Dodge City 1-2-2 3-6-2
Great Bend 2-4 4-5
Liberal 1-3-1 3-6-1
Great Bend 1, Hays High 0, OT
TIE Garden City 0, Dodge City 0
Dodge City at Great Bend
Hays-TMP at Hays High
Great Bend at Liberal
HAYS HIGH (4-1-1, 7-3-1)—W Wichita Life; McPherson Tournament (L Topeka 0-1, L Salina South 0-1, W Augusta 3-1); W *Dodge City 1-0; TIE *Liberal 0-0; W Junction City 5-1; W *Great Bend 2-0; W *Garden City 3-0; W *Liberal 1-0, OT; 4-21—at Maize South; L *Great Bend 0-1, OT; 4-26—Hays-TMP; 4-30—*at Garden City; 5-3—*at Dodge City; 5-10—Wichita Trinity
GARDEN CITY (3-1-2, 8-3-2)—Goddard Tournament (L Goddard 2-3; W Buhler 1-0; W Rose Hill 3-0) W Guymon, Okla. 5-1; W * Great Bend 4-0; W Wichita Trinity 5-0; W *Liberal 1-0; W Hays-TMP 2-0; TIE *Dodge City 0-0; L *Hays High 0-3; W *Great Bend 2-1; L Wichita North 0-2; TIE *Dodge City 0-0; 4-30—*Hays High; 5-3—at Hays-TMP; 5-8—*Garden City
DODGE CITY (1-2-2, 3-6-2)—L SM South 0-6; Titan Classic (L Wichita Kapaun-Mt. Carmel 1-6; W Liberal 1-0 OT; L Wichita Northwest); W *Liberal 1-0; L *Hays High 0-1; L Hays-TMP 1-2; L *Great Bend 1-2; TIE *Garden City 0-0; W Wichita Trinity 2-0; TIE *Garden City 0-0; 4-26—*at Great Bend; 5-1—at Wichita South; 5-3—*Hays High; 5-10—*at Liberal
GREAT BEND (2-4, 4-5)—W Wichita Independent 7-2; W Emporia 2-1; L *Garden City 0-4; W *Dodge City 2-1; L *Hays High 0-2; L *Liberal 0-3; L *Garden City 1-2; L Hays-TMP 0-3: W *Hays High 1-0, OT; 4-26—*Dodge City; 4-27—*at Liberal; 4-30—at Hays-TMP; 5-1—Wichita Southeast; 5-3—at Buhler; 5-7—at Manhattan; 5-10—at Junction City
LIBERAL (1-3-1, 3-6-1)—W Wichita Classical 4-1; Titan Classic (L Wichita Carroll 0-6; L Dodge City 0-1, OT; L Wichita East); L *Dodge City 0-1; TIE *Hays High 0-0; L *Garden City 0-1; W *Great Bend 3-0; W Hays-TMP 6-3; L *Hays High 0-1, OT; 4-27—*Great Bend; 4-30/5-1—at Wichita North Tournament; 5-8—*at Garden City; 5-10—*Dodge City