The season-opening and home-opening soccer game saw the Great Bend High School boys accomplish something they haven’t for 12 years.
The Panthers beating defending Class 5A state champion Liberal 3-0 on Thursday evening at Cavanaugh Field.
“My first year as a head coach, two years ago, they beat us 10-0 on this field,” GBHS head coach Gus Prieto said. “At their field last year, they beat us 8-3. Now we were ready for them.
“Last year, we played a lot of good teams like this that are really aggressive. That makes my team ready to go.”
Neither team scored until GBHS senior forward Alex Urias scored early in the second half. Urias, who was tied as the Panthers’ leading scorer last year, also scored the third goal.
“Last year, he didn’t start too many games,” Prieto said. “Now, he starts. I know he’s strong, fast. He kicks the ball hard, and we’re going to have a really good chance with him to score some goals.
“Last year, he scored 18. I’m pretty sure he’s going to go over 20 this year.”
Senior midfielder Mario Espino scored a goal on a penalty kick after a Liberal defender tripped Michael Prieto inside the goalie’s box.
“We have really good shooters,” the third-year head coach said. “Mario, I’ve known him for several years. I know he always makes it. He’s probably a 99 percent possibility to score.”
The Panthers held Liberal to only oneshot on goal in the first half, and out shot the Redskins 19-7.
Great Bend plays Rose Hill at 1 p.m. on Monday in Wichita to start the Wichita Titans Classic.
The Panthers will also have games on Thursday and Saturday. The times and opponents are yet to be determined.