The first chunk of the season has not been kind to the Great Bend High School girls’ soccer team.
The Lady Panthers opened the season with three straight losses at the Wichita South Titans Classic, followed by a road Western Athletic Conference loss at Liberal.
On Thursday, Great Bend fell 4-0 in its home opener against Garden City.
Lady Panthers head coach Gus Prieto said that while it may be rough to start the season 0-5, and 0-2 in the WAC, it is a learning experience for the young team.
“We have a young team,” Prieto said. “In this program, we have 13 freshmen and then 12 or 13 sophomores. For me, we played good. I liked what I saw on the field.
“We had three mistakes that caused goals. That happens.”
Prieto said that with such a large group, it is important to build give the group a chance to learn to play together.
“We have a good future with them,” Prieto said. “We’ll lose maybe two or three players after this year, so that will be good, but I liked what I saw today. I used seven freshmen, started three of them. They looked good.”
Among the freshmen starters, Keely Ireland, a speedy forward, was one quick improver that Prieto mentioned.
“We have a freshman forward, Keely Ireland, who is getting better every game,” Prieto said. “The way she’s playing now is entirely different than she played last month. She’s playing like a senior, but she’s a freshman.”
Ireland didn’t get many chances against Garden City, though.
The Lady Buffs led 1-0 in the first half.
Midway through the second half, a high-arcing shot glanced off a should of a Great Bend defender and into the goal to make it 2-0.
With less than 15 minutes remaining in the game, Garden City got two quick goals to make it 4-0.
“We really had three mistakes lead to goals,” Prieto said. “On that corner kick in the first half, we made a mistake and they scored. That goal changed the whole game. We have to be a little more aggressive.”
Great Bend hosts Dodge City on Monday, starting at 4 p.m.