By AUSTIN COLBERT
Special to The Telegram
HAYS — A Western Athletic Conference championship is still in the picture for the Garden City boys' soccer team after a 2-0 win over Hays High School on Tuesday at HHS Field.
"Every game — it counts," Garden City coach Joaquin Padilla said. "We are trying to stay alive and maybe get a good position in the playoffs, in regionals. This is a big win for us. We always have good games with Hays here."
Garden City improved to 9-3, 5-1 in WAC play, its lone loss coming against league-leading Dodge City. Hays High fell to 5-9, 1-6 in the WAC.
A strong wind dictated much of the game, and kept both teams off the scoreboard in the first half. The only time the ball found the back of the net was in the final minutes of the half, when a goal by Garden City's David Fuentes was waved off because of an illegal use of the hands.
The wind favored Garden City in the second half, and the Buffaloes were finally able to capitalize on their scoring chances.
"With the ball and the wind behind them I thought we controlled the game pretty well," Padilla said. "The second half I thought we had some good shots and were able to make two. Our main goal was to hold them."
The first goal came in the 48th minute, when a shot off a corner kick bounced in the direction of Fuentes who was able to knock it in for an easy goal. A crowded goalie box made it difficult for Hays High goalie Sheldon Sulzman to see it coming.
Garden City tacked on a second goal with about 13 minutes to play. Eric Barragan's shot bounced off Indian defenders and Gilberto Tovar cleaned up the leftovers for another easy goal.
The Indians' best chance to score came with less than 10 minutes to play when Hays High senior Lane Clark was awarded a penalty kick following a hand ball and yellow card by Garden City in the goalie box.
Clark's shot went straight into the hands of Garden City goalie Israel Reyes and the Buffaloes would hold on for the shutout. Hays High has lost five straight games, scoring only one goal in that span.
"With the wind to our back we didn't take that many shots," Hays High coach Saul Hernandez said. "That's been the thing these last games. Defensively we've been playing solid, but up top we haven't been taking shots. It hurts us in the end."
Garden City outshot Hays High 11-3. Reyes recorded three saves in net for the Buffs.
"Our defense played well when we had the wind against us," Padilla said. "I thought we played well in the conditions we had. It's a big, big win for us."
Garden City (9-3, 5-1) 0 2 — 2
Hays High (5-9, 1-6) 0 0 — 0
GC--Fuentes, 48th minute (unassisted)
GC--Tovar, 67th minute (unassisted)
Saves--Reyes 3, Garden City; Sulzman 9, Hays High.