Wind not needed to blow out TMP
By BRETT MARSHALL
By BRETT MARSHALL
It only seemed like an eternity for the Garden City High School Lady Buffaloes soccer team since they had seen the friendly turf of Buffalo Stadium.
Three weeks into the 2014 season, and nary a home game for the Lady Buffs.
Five games, and all had been on the road — until Tuesday when they played host to the TMP-Marian Lady Monarchs.
So it was reason to celebrate their season home opener with their best first half performance that paved the way for a dominating 5-0 victory over the Lady Monarchs, and extended their winning streak to four games.
The biggest celebration came from sophomore forward Amber Miller, whose hat-trick of three goals provided the big offensive spark as the Lady Buffs scored four goals in the first half into the teeth of a 20-25 mph southerly wind.
"It felt amazing, and just being a sophomore and getting three goals, I'm just really not sure how to describe it," a beaming Miller said afterward. "It was our first game at home and we wanted to play well for the home fans."
Tiffany Butler put the Lady Buffs on the board first with an unassisted goal after dribbling into the goal area from about 30 yards out. That came in the 14th minute, and set the stage for the first two of Miller's three scores.
Miller got her first goal in the 19th minute when she dribbled from about the 30-yard line in, faked TMP's goalkeeper Deonna Wellbrock and booted the ball into the net with her left foot. Three minutes later, she took the ball on an assist from Megan Martinez on a rebound shot and scored into the right side of the net. Martinez completed the first-half scoring barrage when she dribbled in from the 20-yard line and then scored.
Taking the wind in the second half didn't prove to be the advantage that one might have thought, and the Lady Buffs managed just one goal, and that being Miller's third goal, which came in the 66th minute.
"I think that last goal, the ball was going at a speed that she wasn't expecting," Miller said of the TMP goalkeeper. "We've been pressuring defenses better, and I think we just wanted to start out stronger. And I think it was our best first half so far."
The Lady Buffs were able to launch 14 shots against Wellbrock, while giving up just seven to the Lady Monarchs. Sophomore goalkeeper Ashlee Richman was once again stellar in the net, recording two saves while Wellbrock managed four.
Head coach Joaquin Padilla said the Lady Buffs continue to improve with each game and felt the team had played particularly well against the wind.
"Sometimes when you have the wind, the ball just moves too fast and perhaps that is what happened in the second half," Padilla said. "It's hard to judge the ball sometimes when the wind is blowing that hard. I thought we moved the ball well against the wind. At times the defense was out of place, but overall the defense did a good job."
Padilla said they had been working with Miller to do more one-touch scoring opportunities and that's just what happened with her goals.
"We just want her to strike it quickly with one touch, so I think now she can see the benefit of that," Padilla said. "She did that on her first two goals."
The Lady Buffs will take their 4-2 overall record and 1-0 mark in the Western Athletic Conference into a 5:30 p.m. Monday home game against WAC rival Hays High at Buffalo Stadium.
TMP-Marian 0 0 -- 0
Garden City 4 1 -- 5
GC--Tiffany Butler, unassisted, 14th minute.
GC--Amber Miller, unassisted, 19th minute.
GC--Amber Miller, assist Megan Martinez, 22nd minute.
GC--Megan Martinez, unassisted, 29th minute.
GC--Amber Miller, unassisted, 66th minute.
Shots--TMP-Marian 7, Garden City 13. Saves--TMP-Marian (Wellbrock 4), Garden City (Richman 2). Penalties--none.