A core group of returning starters will provide the anchor for the Garden City High School boys soccer team.

The Buffs, who were 11-7-0 a year ago, will be coached by veteran Joaquin Padilla and his assistant head coach Josue Negron.

The Buffs will be on the pitch for their season opener at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in Hays against the Indians.

His top returners include two senior goalkeepers — Francisco Becerril and Jose Betanco — who had 48 and 17 saves, respectively, in 2017.

"It's always nice to have two solid players returning to a position, and if they play the way they did late in the year, we'll be in good shape as far as limiting goals from our opponents," Padilla said.

Those two limited opponents to just 1.33 goals per game.

In addition, four players return who accounted for nearly half of the goals scored by the Buffs' offense in 2017, when they averaged just 2.72 goals per game.

Junior Alonso Vera will return to his forward/midfield position after scoring 10 goals and recording two assists.

Defender/midfielders Alec Keosengphet (junior) and Salvador Bustos (senior) each scored seven goals. Bustos also was involved with seven assists.

Another junior, Jesus Garcia, was responsible for four goals and 10 assists from his midfielder position.

"We've got quite a few return players and some new ones, too," Padilla said of his squad. "Some of our new players are juniors and seniors, and we think by mid-season they'll be ready to see more playing time."

While he admitted his 2017 team struggled at times scoring, he believes this year's team will be more explosive on offense.

"I think maybe we'll be a little faster, a little quicker and score more," Padilla said. "Defensively, I think we'll be good again.

"If we play the way we can, and stay with our system, we just need to worry about how we play and not how the other team plays," Padilla said.

The Hays game will also open the Western Athletic Conference slate for the Buffs, and then they will compete in the Goddard Invitational which gets under way next Tuesday, Thursday and the following Saturday. Their home openeer will be Sept. 11 against TMP-Marian.