Garden City High School’s girls soccer team saw its seven-game winning streak come to an end Thursday night at Buffalo Stadium.
It wasn’t because they lost the match against rival Dodge City, but the 0-0 draw certainly felt that way to both head coach Joaquin Padilla and the Buffs players.
There were no smiles as the team walked off the pitch following 100 minutes of non-scoring action.
Perhaps it was the fact that the Buffs were playing their fourth game in six days, fifth in seven and sixth in nine days that took a little steam out of their recent scoring successes, where they had scored 17 goals.
It could have been the 94-degree match-time temperature, but more likely about 100-105 degrees on the turf pitch that eventually sapped the energy from both teams. Just six days prior, the Buffs had played Wichita Trinity on the same pitch with the temperature 34 degrees and wind chill hovering around 17 degrees.
Or it may well have been the fact that the visiting Red Demons, who came in struggling at 2-6-0 and 1-2-0 in the WAC just simply wanted to leave with a scoreless draw.
“It’s how they wanted to play,” Padilla said of Dodge City’s strategy to put eight or nine players on the defensive side of mid-field for most of the match. “We weren’t as sharp with our shots as we’ve been, and that’s probably because we’ve played so many games in such a short period of time.”
The Buffs had to go against the 24mph southwest wind in the first half, and managed to come out without giving up any goals. To their credit, they limited Dodge to just two shots in the opening 40 minutes when the Demons had the strong wind at their back.
“We knew it would be a tough game,” said sophomore forward MaKaylee Longoria. “It was not the outcome we wanted. I thought we played hard, but just didn’t get some of our good shots to go in.”
Part of that was the superb net play by Dodge’s Angie Ojeda. The senior goalkeeper kept seven of those 13 shots from finding their way into the net, a couple of them diving stops, including a rifle shot by Elyssa Salazar with 15:20 left in the second half of regulation.
What did remain intact was the scoreless streak for the Buffs' defense as they have now held teams without a goal for five consecutive matches — and only one goal over the last eight matches.
“She’s a pretty good goalkeeper and a tough competitor,” Longoria said of Ojeda, a senior who has been in goal now for most of her high school career. “Our back line did a good job like they always do, but we weren’t playing the same as what we’ve been playing. We’ve been playing over the top and getting the ball downfield quicker, but we didn’t do that today.”
So with the draw, the Buffs now sit at 7-1-1 overall and 2-0-1 in the WAC. They get four days now to rest, which will likely feel like a week-long vacation for the Buffs. They travel to Hays on Monday for another WAC match-up and then return home on Tuesday to face Great Bend.
Senior keeper Kaylee Keller had a quiet day, only needing to save one of the two shots at her by the Demons.
“I think we had a couple of decent opportunities to score, but we didn’t cash in on them,” Padilla said. “You take the tie as best you can. I think the girls learned a lot from this. We wanted to get the ball out on the sides more, but we just didn’t seem to have the same energy that we’ve had. We saw some good individual effort from the middle, but we wanted to play the game the way we practice, and we didn’t do that.”