GCHS roundup: Buffs' tennis 2nd; Girls soccer falls again in tourney
By BRETT MARSHALL
The Garden City High School boys tennis team opened its 2013 season with a strong performance on Saturday at the Great Bend Invitational, with a runner-up finish to the host Panthers.
The Buffaloes finished with 47 points while Great Bend captured top honors with 60 points. Dodge City was a distant third with 34 points in the 7-team field.
"We did well getting the second-place team medals playing with an adjusted line-up," GCHS head coach Rod Robinson said.
The Buffs were playing without No. 1 singles player Brian Clarke, who was serving a one-tournament suspension for violation of team and school policy.
It was a balanced team effort for the Buffs as both doubles teams (Evan Riggs/Denton Keller and Brevin Irwin/Eric Barragan) and No. 2 singles player (Dozie Ekweariri) garnered runner-up finishes while No. 1 singles player (Sebastian Kyaw) took third.
"We'll have to find a way to beat Great Bend later in the season," Robinson said.
Riggs, playing for the first time with Keller in doubles (he's partnered with Clarke the previous three seasons while Keller had played the last two seasons with his now-graduated brother Brennan), went 5-1 in finishing second to Great Bend's Chase Buntain and Austin Jacobs, where they lost a tough 8-5 decision. Wins came by margins of 8-0, 8-1, 8-3, 8-4 and 8-5.
"I think playing for the first time as partners was successful," Robinson said of Riggs and Keller. "They went toe to toe with Great Bend, when a few unlucky bounces took away their momentum. They are looking forward to a re-match."
Irwin and Barragan, also playing together in doubles as newcomers to the varsity, went 5-1 in their second-place finish. They dispatched teams from Liberal, Sterling, Dodge City, Ellinwood and Hoisington while falling to Great Bend's Adam Neelan and Patrick Mclusky, 8-2. Three of their wins came by margins of 8-1 and another by 8-3.
"Eric played well filling in the varsity spot, helping Brevin go 5-1 on the day," Robinson said. "The other teams had difficulty getting the ball by Brevin at the net. Eric would hustle to get anything that did get by."
With Clarke absent, Ekweariri moved up to No. 2 singles and responded with a strong outing, falling only to Great Bend's Class 5A state qualifier from a year ago, Grant Harris (8-1). He had a pair of 8-0 wins as well as another at 8-1 and two at 8-6.
"Playing varsity tennis for the first time, Dozie hustled his way to beat everyone accept the state qualifier from Great Bend," Robinson said. "He had to get used to the longer matches at the varsity level and proved he could handle the load."
Kyaw, who played No. 2 singles a year ago, moved up to No. 1 for the day and played solidly for the Buffs. He defeated players from Liberal, Sterling, Hoisington and Ellinwood while falling to Janas Gotte of Dodge City and Nick Moyers of Great Bend.
"Sebastian played well moving up to the No. 1 spot today," Robinson said. "Going 4-2 is not a bad showing playing in the No. 1 spot for the first time."
The Buffs will not return to action until April 9 when they travel to the Salina Central Invitational.
In their previous two games of the Goddard/Bishop Carroll Tournament, the Garden City Lady Buffaloes soccer team had to go into penalty kick shootouts, winning one and losing one.
On Saturday, Goddard Eisenhower kept the Lady Buffs off the scoreboard, registering a 2-0 win in the third-place game of the tournament.
"We played three of the top teams in their classes, we got them all," GCHS coach Joaquin Padilla said of the high-caliber competition. "I wish we'd played like we did against Carroll, and we might have won the game. Overall, though, we played well. Hopefully, we'll get some consistency once we get into the WAC (Western Athletic Conference).
Eisenhower got its first goal in the 20th minute on a solo effort by Jaclyn Means for a 1-0 halftime lead.
Less than a minutge into the second half, the Lady Tigers scored the final goal when Brynn Suddeth took a pass from Cayleigh Moore and knocked it in.
GCHS freshman goalkeeper Ashlee Richman played another strong game, recording 12 saves on the 15 shots made by Eisenhower. The Lady Buffs, meanwhile, could only get 5 shots on goal.
The loss leaves the Lady Buffs with a 1-3 season record with their next game scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Thursday with a home match against Great Bend in their WAC opener at Buffalo Stadium.
"Overall, I think the girls know they can play the higher teams and we need to get some more scoring chances up front," Padilla said. "We're getting good defense overall and if we can now get some scoring, I think we've got a chance to do pretty good."