By KEVIN THOMPSON
The Garden City High School Lady Buffaloes stayed solid in league play with a 3-0 win over visiting Liberal Thursday at Buffalo Stadium.
It's the kind of win this team needed as it leaves behind what's been a winter-like spring, and head into a tough stretch of games heading into May and postseason play.
Once again, the weather played into the Buffaloes' strategy.
Heading south into a strong head wind the first half, they hoped to score once or twice, then use the wind on their backs in the second half to put things away.
Coach Joaquin Padilla's plan worked almost perfectly, as Garden City took a 1-0 lead at the break and scored twice more in the second, relying on solid defense to keep the Lady Redskins in check all night.
Haley Brennaman led a second-half scoring attack for Garden City (5-4, 3-1 WAC).
Her first goal, in the 46th minute, was an attack from the left side of the goal. The goalkeeper fell, and Brennaman put the ball in uncontested.
Seven minutes later, the senior kicked from just right of the goal and the ball sailed straight into the top left corner of the net, and the Buffaloes had a 3-0 lead.
Amber Miller scored the lone goal of the first half, an "excuse me" shot that keeper Magali Vazquez would normally stop.
In the 38th minute, the freshman midfielder directed a routine shot towards the Redskin goal to the south. But after Vazquez got in front of the shot, the ball took an odd wind-induced angle, kept rolling and Garden City had the lead to go into halftime.
"We'll take them any way," Padilla said of that first goal. "We needed that to get going."
Besides Brennaman's two goals, Megan Martinez came close a couple of times, as well.
It was all about using the wind.
"They (Liberal) had the wind on their backs the first half, but they didn't get very many shots," Padilla said.
Credit the defense for that, he added.
"Our defense is pretty solid. That's one of our strengths. In the games we've lost, they've kept us in the game," he said.
Garden City's freshman goalkeeper Ashley Richman had a solid night. She stopped all three Liberal shots on goal in the first half, including two athletic diving saves in the 18th and 30th minutes of what was a scoreless tie at those points.
In the second half, Richman watched as her teammates kept the action on the north end of the field. The Redskins' only real threat came at the 65th minute with their only deep penetration, but Richman made another dive save on the lone Liberal (4-6, 2-4) shot.
"I think in a couple of years she'll be one of the top goal keepers," Padilla said of his freshman stopper. "Maybe as a freshman, she's not scared, and that's a good thing."
Garden City has little time to rest on its laurels.
The Buffs host WAC rivals Dodge City today and Hays (Garden City's only league loss) on Monday before playing a three-day tournament in Wichita next week.
"Dodge is going to be tough and Hays — we've got to have those to have a chance of winning the WAC," Padilla said.
Garden City held that title for six years before relinquishing it last year, so the Buffs would like to get it back, he said.
Garden City 3, Liberal 0
Liberal 0 0 -- 0
Garden City 1 2 -- 3
GC — Amber Miller, 38th minute
GC-- Haley Brennaman, 46th minute
GC-- Brennaman, 53rd minute
Keepers — Liberal (Magali Vazquez) , Garden City (Ashley Richman). Shots on goal--Liberal 4, Garden City 12.