Garden City Buffaloes
A head above
Lady Buffs complete season sweep of Liberal with 3-0 win.
By KEVIN THOMPSON
Playing a team three times in three weeks might get old, but for the Garden City girls soccer team, it meant a third straight win over Liberal.
It's also a good way to end the regular season.
On senior night, the Lady Buffaloes scored a 3-0 win over the Lady Redskins at Buffalo Stadium and now will host a playoff game on Monday in the regional first round.
Maria Rodriguez scored the first two goals for Garden City, both on penalty kicks.
The first came in the third minute after a hand ball in the goal area. The second came in minute 64, both with little opposition.
Cecilia Alvarez took advantage of a rebound in front of the net to score in the 71st minute.
For the five seniors, it was a good way to end their regular-season careers.
"It's been an adventure," Rodriguez said. "We've been together for four years, and it's been real fun. It's unfortunate that it's over, but we have bigger and better things to go on to."
Garden City recorded its third shutout over Liberal (2-0 and 4-0 the other two times). Rodriguez said this game felt so much better than Monday's 1-0 win over Dodge City, mainly because the weather was more like spring and less like winter.
"(Monday) it was brutal, but today actually felt pretty good," she said. "We practice in this weather a lot and we get pretty used to it."
The Buffs are also getting used to playing almost a match a day lately, playing their sixth in the last nine days.
Coach Joaquin Padilla is looking forward to a few days off to prepare for Monday's playoff round.
He was also impressed with the team's play and especially complementary of Rodriguez.
"Maria is probably one of the best players we have, and we trust her on the penalty kicks," he said. "That's why we chose her. She's very certain and she trusts herself. She did a great job on those penalty kicks and also a great job on the field."
Garden City's defense limited Liberal (5-9, 2-5) to just three shots on goal.
Physically, Rodriguez added, the Buffs have become tougher. Next up is whatever opponent they get, and it doesn't really matter who it is.
"I don't really think about that," she said. "We just have to go out there and give it our all."
The Buffs, now 10-6 (5-3 in Western Athletic Conference play), could likely host Wichita South at 5 p.m. Monday, though the pairings will not be announced until the weekend after Thursday games are reported.
Padilla agreed with Rodriguez on the team's preparedness.
"They are where they should be at this point and should be ready for the next step," he said.
Garden City 3, Liberal 0
Liberal 0 0 -- 0
Garden City 1 2 -- 3
GC--Maria Rodriguez, handball penalty kick, 3rd minute.
GC--M. Rodriguez, penalty kick, 64th minute.
GC--Cecilia Alvarez, 71st minute.
Shots on goal--Liberal 3, GC 13. Saves--Liberal 4, GC 2. Goal keepers--Vazquez (Liberal), Richman, Gomez.
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