By JIM MISUNAS
Great Bend girls soccer coach Elisabeth Gafford sent her starters a clear message by pulling her entire lineup.
After an inspiring first half that left Hays-Thomas More Prep ahead 1-0, the Monarchs (7-6-1) opened the scoring floodgates with as five-goal second half for a 6-0 victory at Memorial Stadium. The Panthers (2-9-1) play at winless Wichita Southeast (0-12) Tuesday and return home Thursday against Buhler (4-7-1).
Defender Alma Garay deflected several balls out of trouble and goalie Ellie Anspaugh played solidly behind a strong defensive effort in a 1-0 first-half score. Defenders Alondra Espino, Joanna Sanchez, Abby MacKinny and Gladis Arellanes played soild defense.
Gafford has seen up close the level of soccer the Panthers are capable of playing. They’ve won once and tied once in seven games decided by one goal. The Panthers outplayed their opponents in several of those games.
“We passed to our feet, moved the ball and looked up. I was very pleased by the way we played that first half,” Gafford said. “We are competitive. I know we’re capable, but they’ve got to prove it on the field. We’re a very capable team that has a hard time finishing the game.”
Monarch standout Kayla Vitzum scored four goals as the Monarchs scored four second-half goals in 13 minutes.
The Panthers passed the ball from point-to-point and created a couple of scoring chances in the first half. Keely Ireland’s had a quality shot on goal. Elaine Hernandez’s pass set up Araceli Delgadillo for a good shot.
Vitztum’s goal at the 31:05 mark of the first half was the Monarchs’ lone goal.
Vitztum scored at the 39-minute mark and the 34:34 mark for a quick 3-0 lead, both on perfect assists by Aubrey Koeningsman. Anspaugh made her best save on a an attempt by Ashley Ostrander at the 30:35 mark.
“We were not ready for the second half, the minute they stepped onto the field,” Gafford said. “We were not talking. We did not win the ball in the air and didn’t pass the ball to our feet.”
But Peyton Brown scored off a Koeningsman assist at the 29:08 mark. That was followed by a Koenigsman goal and a closing Vitzum goal on an assist by Ostrander.
Gafford was pleased with her backup players, which were keyed by the hustle from end-to-end by Joanna Sanchez.
“I expected our subs would play hard. Some of them had not played much varsity time,” she said. “We’ve played good on the turf.”