By BRETT MARSHALL
Garden City High School's girls soccer team closed out its regular season by claiming a 2-1 victory on Tuesday at Liberal with the hope that it is good enough to earn them a home game in next week's first round of the Class 6A regional tournament.
The Lady Buffs' victory over the Lady Redskins didn't come easily, as they were playing their fifth game in seven days, all of those coming on the road.
After a scoreless first half, when the Buffs were playing against a stiff southerly wind, senior Haley Brennaman broke the deadlock with a penalty kick goal in the 45th minute.
It was Brennaman again getting what proved to the game-winning goal in the 55th minute, when she took a through ball from senior Greta Peters.
Liberal's lone goal came on a penalty kick in the 60th minute when Yanira Ruiz scored following a handball call against the Lady Buffs.
"I knew we'd probably be a little sluggish after all the games we've played," assistant coach Josue Negron said. "Then coming off the Dodge City win (2-0 on Monday), I knew it would be tough, too. But the girls pushed through and were able to grind this one out. We played tired but we were able to do what we needed."
Negron said the Buffs played conservatively on the defensive end during the first half against the wind. Then, they opened it up more in the second half when the wind was in their favor.
"We were more on the offensive in the second half when we opened it up," Negron said. "We played more defensive into the wind and it worked out."
The Lady Buffs finished the regular season with an overall record of 9-6-1 and were 5-2-1 in the Western Athletic Confernece, good enough for second-place behind Hays.
Now, they will await the announcement on Saturday for the postseason pairings.
At Liberal's Willow Tree Golf Course on Tuesday, the Garden City High School boys golf team shot a score of 340 to finish third among the five Western Athletic Conference schools competing.
Dodge City swept to the WAC championship, going unbeaten in all five league events. The Red Demons won Tuesday's event with a 291 total, easily beating runner-up Hays' 325 total. Following the Buffs' total were Great Bend at 343 and Liberal at 347.
Junior Austin Swender paced the Buffs with an 80, tying for 10th overall but losing a scorecard playoff. He did, however, earn all-WAC honorable mention honors by placing ninth in the overall individual competition through the five league tournaments.
"We're still where we've been all season," head coach Walker Frey said. "We're still looking for that third and fourth score to get lower by four to six or seven shots. If we do that, we can be competitve for the third spot at regionals."
Tucker Schiffelbein was right behind Swender with an 81, while Jacob Law finished with an 87. Mitch Moore's 92 rounded out the scoring for the 340 total. Tristan Corrales and Parker Tanner had non-counting scores of 96 and 103.
The Buffs will head to Wichita on Monday for the Class 6A regional tournament at Reflection Ridge Golf Club. The top three teams and the top five individuals who are not members of one of the top three teams will advance to the 6A state tournament on May 20 at Meadowbrook Country Club in Overland Park.
Results in Scoreboard, Page B2.