Behind senior forward Htoo Htoo’s hat trick, the Garden City Buffaloes soccer team punched its ticket into the Goddard Invitational final, soundly defeating the Goddard Lions, 6-0, Thursday night in the tournament's semifinal in Goddard.
“We played pretty good,” head coach Joaquin Padilla said of his team’s semifinal win. “We still need to work on improving as a team and become better as the season goes on."
Sophomore Rodrigo Oropeza started the scoring for Garden City (3-0) as his unassisted 8th minute goal gave Garden City a 1-0. Htoo then added to the lead, by scoring the first of this three goals in the 17th minute on an assist from freshman Jesus Garcia.
Just 12 minutes later, Htoo scored his second goal and gave the Buffs a 3-0 lead into halftime.
With the game starting to shift out of hand late in the first half, this was a good chance for some of those younger players to get on field, when they might not during the hardest part of the schedule.
“Because of the opportunity, everyone on the team was able to play today," Padilla said. "It's a good opportunity for those who might not usually play to learn and get some experience for later."
The Buffs added three more goals in the second half, one more by Oropeza, giving him a brace and one more for Htoo, giving him his third of the day, and his team-leading fourth of the season.
This will be the Buffs' third straight year in the championship game, winning it all in 2016 and losing in the final game to Campus in 2017.
“We are hoping to play well on Saturday and bring back the trophy to Garden City back with us,” Padilla said.
The championship match is set between Garden City and Goddard-Eisenhower at 11 a.m. Saturday at Campus.