By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Valdez inspires Panthers’ soccer to win over Titans
Yulisa Valdez 2.jpg
Great Bend's Yulisa Valdez strikes the soccer ball during Tuesday's night soccer game against Wichita South. - photo by Hugo Gonzalez

The Great Bend Panthers’ soccer team will always “Remember The Titans.”

On one magical night, Great Bend Panther Yulisa Valdez helped make a winless soccer record a distant memory. Valdez scored two goals and assisted on a third goal to spark the Panthers’ 3-1 victory over the Wichita South Titans Tuesday at Memorial Stadium.

The Panthers’ first victory came one night after the Titans earned their first victory 2-0 over Wichita Independent Monday. 

“It feels amazing to win finally after losing the rest of the season,” Valdez said. “We were playing way better than we were playing before. We’ve improved a lot.”

The soccer teams were perfectly matched. The 6A Titans (1-13) have been outscored 92-3. The 5A Panthers have been outscored 79-11.

Valdez created numerous offensive opportunities by attacking the Titans’ defense with stylish play. She would fake out a defender, pass the ball off and get the return pass for an offensive attack.

Her first creative play was a crossing pass that Evelyn Luna blasted past Titan goalie Lizbeth Garcia (9:18).

“That was one of my better games,” Valdez said. “I had a lot of energy to run today. It was fun to take the lead today. We’re always behind. We kept our heads up and had good touches today.” 

The Titans’ tandem of lightning-fast Socorro Stephens and Gabby Mota combined for a tying goal (15:00). Stephens raced past several Panther defenders and dished to Mota for the tying goal. 

It was Valdez’s evening to shine. She missed several shots wide of the goal and fed Luna a perfect pass that Titan goalie Garcia saved (30:00). Valdez drilled a free kick past Garcia (31:11) for a 2-1 halftime lead.

Panther goalie Cassandra Enriquez was up to the task, turning back several quality corner kicks by Carmen Umana. Stephens used her speed to create most of the Titans’ offense. Panther defender Jazmin Calzada helped check the Titans’ tandem after halftime.

Panthers Joselin Pando and Arely Reyes controlled the midfield with strong play that moved from defense to an offensive attack. 

McKenna Tinkler’s hustle paid off the clinching goal. Pando delivered a perfect centering pass to Valdez for the clinching goal (68:44) for a 3-1 victory.

“We showed a lot of effort and discipline. It you give effort and discipline, you’ve got a chance,” said Great Bend coach Margarita Ayala. “We did a nice job passing the ball on the ground rather than dribbling. They’re learning a lot.”

GREAT BEND (1-14)—L Wichita Heights 3-7; L Hays-TMP 0-2; L *Liberal 0-6; L *Garden City 0-5; L *Dodge City 0-5; L *Hays High 0-9; L *Liberal 1-9; L *Garden City 0-8; L Nickerson 1-3; L *Hays High 0-7; L *Dodge City 0-2; L Hays-TMP 2-3; L Wichita Southeast 1-2; L Manhattan 0-10; W Wichita South 3-1; 5-13 Junction City