After a strong finish at the Goddard/Eisenhower Tournament last week, it didn't take long for the Garden City Buffaloes’ girls soccer team to carry over that momentum into their home opener Tuesday.
Junior Elyssa Salazar’s hat trick lifted the Buffs past the Guymon Tigers, 5-1, at Buffalo Stadium.
Salazar started the scoring early for Garden City (3-1) with a 5th minute goal. In the three previous games this season, Salazar had accounted for one goal. After Tuesday’s game, she now leads the team with four. It was Salazar’s first ever hat trick.
“Today, I went into the game thinking that we haven't scored a lot this season and we struggle with scoring, so I wanted to work on what we do in practice and put it into the game,” Salazar said.
Head coach Joaquin Padilla knows that offensive production for his team can be scarce, so he will look for his players to step up.
“We just need to get more goals like that from whoever can score," he said. "We don't have a true power forward, so if we can get them from the wings or the midfielders, or anyone, we’ll take them”
It only took Garden City six minutes to double its lead as sophomore midfielder Makaylee Longoria’s 11th minute shot went right through the goalies hand’s for Garden City’s second goal of the game.
Salazar then scored he second goal by beating the Tiger goalie on a one-on-one situation in the 27th minute.
The wind played a big story in the first half, as the strong gusts kept the visiting Tigers trapped on their own side of the pitch. The wind in the second half affected the Buffaloes as well.
Garden City did have more success than the Tigers against the wind, however, as they put two more into the net in the second half — a 65th minute goal that sealed Salazar’s hat trick and a 75th minute goal from freshman Sarah Villatoro sealed the rout.
“The wind kind of affected us, but not really. There were things we still could have done better that the wind really didn't help us with,” Salazar said.
“There are some things that we need to clean up, and i thought today we were trying to, but the wind did not allow us to do so," Padilla added.
Guymon did manage to put one back, scoring their lone goal in the 77th minute, .
Against Guymon, the Garden City outshot the Tigers, 19-7, which now makes it four straight games where the Buffaloes out-shot their opponents.
“Its always nice to have wins behind you, before you enter WAC, but we’ll keep improving and see where we can get,” said Padilla on a confidence building win on the eve of WAC play.
Garden City will look to continue their hot start as they they travel to Great Bend to take on the Panthers, Thursday night in Great Bend.