The Great Bend High School boys’ soccer team fell short of its goal to win the Western Athletic Conference title on Monday.
The Panthers fell to Liberal 3-1, dropping their overall record to 12-3 and their conference record to 5-3.
With the loss, GBHS is out of the running for the WAC title, which will be decided on Thursday when Dodge City travels to Liberal.
Liberal forward Eduardo Moreno scored first, breaking past the Great Bend defense for a one-on-one with Ramon Garcia.
Garcia came out of the goal to challenge Moreno, but the Redskins senior was able to move around him for a shot on the open net.
“I think it was a good game,” GBHS head coach Gus Prieto said. “We started kind of nervous on the first half, and I know that they have (Moreno), who is probably one of the best players in the state. I know we had to stop him. In the first half, it was hard to do it, but I think we did it in the second half.”
The Panthers answered one minute, 30 seconds later when Alexander Urias got a long pass over the defense on a free kick. Urias controlled the pass and buried a shot into the far corner of the goal just before the defense recovered.
Liberal was able to score once more before the end of the first half.
On a long free kick shot into the box, the ball rebounded off of the top crossbar to Liberal forward Isai Gutierrez, who quickly put a shot into the net for a 2-1 Redskins advantage at halftime.
In the second half, Liberal was still able to get pressure on the Great Bend goal, finishing the game with 16 shots on goal. Garcia, who allowed all three goals, was able to come away with nine saves.
Gutierrez was able to score the insurance goal for Liberal with 12:32 remaining.
The Panthers finished the game with six shots on goal, five coming in the second half.
“They have fast defenders,” Prieto said. “We know that. I think in the last 20 minutes, we had several chances to score. We keep the ball. We have the speed. I think we played better in the second half than we did in the first half, and we didn’t score. We had several chances, and we can’t. I think my team fight a lot, and my team showed that they could fight with them.
“They compete with them. Last year, it was a big difference. It was 10-0 right here. This year, it is not as big a difference.”
Great Bend’s season finale will be on Thursday at home against Wichita Independent.