Lady Busters healthier, but still come up short to Butler, 6-0




The good news is that the Lady Broncbusters are getting healthier.

But that didn't matter much against the sixth-ranked Grizzlies.

The Garden City Community College women's soccer team finished a two-game stretch against the conference's best teams with a 6-0 loss to Butler on Wednesday at Memorial Stadium, but there were some signs of improvement, most noticeably on the injury front.

Defenders Lizeth Gomez and Viky Benitez returned from injury to bolster a depleted Busters back line. And while a match against the No. 6 team in the nation isn't the easiest welcome-back game, Garden City's defense looked more organized with them back.

"Defensively, we looked a lot stronger than we have in a while, more organized," GCCC head coach Ki Thornberry said. "That creates more offense whenever we can push those kids that normally play offense up, and execute up there now, that's what we've got to do."

The Busters (0-12, 0-8 KJCCC) are still waiting on defender Kyra Bussen to heal from a right ankle injury that's kept her out. And while it helps to have players back on the field, it might take a bit for them to get back into form.

"Now the kids that were not healthy, we've got to get in better shape," Thornberry said. "They've been out so long that they're struggling fitness-wise. But they'll get there."

Garden City wasn't gashed by through balls as often as it was in an 8-0 loss to No. 1 Hutchinson last week, but Butler (13-2, 9-0) still had nine shots on goal and missed the net on another 12. Forward Alyssa Miller scored two goals, bringing her team-leading total to 15.

The Busters went down 1-0 in the 10th minute, when right back Aisling Kerr's cross from 25 yards out caught in the wind and went over goalkeeper Karassa Prochaska's head. Miller scored in the 17th minute, finishing a pass from Morgan Foster for a 2-0 Butler lead.

The Grizzlies subbed most of their starters around the 35th minute, and they started the second half, playing until the 83rd minute or so. Laura Falkenstien scored in the 38th minute, Tasja Toumasis in the 55th and Foster in the 82nd, as Butler's second-stringers surpassed the starters in goals. It didn't take the first-teamers long to even the tally once they were back in the game, as Miller scored in the 88th to make it 6-0.

Thornberry said she thought Butler has more depth than Hutchinson, and gives the Grizzlies credit for playing a tougher schedule. As far as comparing them to the Lady Dragons, it was hard to get a read, as Butler played half the game with subs in.

"I honestly expected a stronger team," Thornberry said of Butler. "But they played their subs second half, you saw as soon as they subbed their starters back in, they got a goal on us. They're a very, very good team. I think it's going to be a very, very good game for the conference championship."

The Busters get a relative break with Pratt (3-9, 3-4) coming to town for a 5 p.m. game on Saturday. Thornberry said there were some improvements in the loss to Butler, but it's important to keep moving forward.

"I feel like this 90 minutes was a better game for us than the 90 minutes against Hutch," Thornberry said. "Again, organization was a huge factor, having those two kids back was a huge factor. We've just got to snowball that forward. They saw it, I could see it, it was a progression forward. Now we've just got to carry that on and keep going forward with it, we can't take a step back and regress."

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