Less drama for the Buffs, as Martinez leads GCHS over Wichita SE
By BRETT MARSHALL
The last thing the Garden City High School girls soccer team wanted to see was another penalty kick shootout.
In two of their first five games, the Lady Buffaloes had to go to the shootout tiebreaker to decide the outcome, winning one and losing one.
But on Friday at Buffalo Stadium, there was no need for another heart-stopper to determine the winner.
Thanks to a pair of late goals in the second half by sophomore forward Megan Martinez, the Lady Buffs came up with a "golden" victory, 2-0, over the Wichita Southeast Golden Buffaloes (2-4).
The non-league triumph brings the Lady Buffs to a .500 mark at 3-3 as they get ready to hit the road on Monday and Tuesday for consecutive Western Athletic Conference contests at Hays and Great Bend. The Buffs currently are 1-0 in the WAC. Both varsity games will be played at 5:30 p.m.
For Martinez, the breakout game was an occasion to celebrate.
"I just tried to relax and not overthink," Martinez said when describing her unassisted first goal in the 66th minute to break a scoreless tie. "A lot of times if I don't relax, I'll launch one over the goal or off to the side."
Martinez took the ball at the 40-yard line and dribbled it down the center of the field, then launched a shot that went past Southeast goalkeeper Kayla Matos, giving the Lady Buffs a 1-0 lead.
Martinez had already been blocked once earlier by Matos, thus she shot the ball earlier the second time around and it paid off.
Her second goal came on a nifty header in the 69th minute when she took a centered pass from junior Cecilia Alvarez on the left side and knocked it in.
"I saw her getting ready and I had enough time to place myself and then just headed it in," Martinez said of the second goal. "I hadn't had one of those since middle school, so it was pretty nice."
The goals ended a game of frustration for the Lady Buffs, who had piled up 15 shots prior to the first Martinez goal while limiting Southeast to just eight shots for the game.
Martinez had already missed the one breakaway and also had a shot to the right corner that was deflected by Matos. Haley Brennaman also had a pair of near-misses, one coming late in the first half when a centered pass just missed to the right and then in the 60th minute hit the left goal bar and bounced away.
"We were much better the second half, but we missed some goals in the first half," GCHS coach Joaquin Padilla said. "I've seen the defense play better, but the girls did do some things well. We had some chances against the wind in the first half, but we couldn't finish."
Freshman goalkeeper Ashlee Richman was rock-solid in goal, making seven saves and keeping what offensive attack Southeast could muster at bay.
"She continues to do a good job for us and is just getting more comfortable in goal with every game she plays," Padilla said of his rookie goalkeeper.
For Martinez, the Lady Buffs performance was a welcome change from playing the extra period of falling behind early.
"I see us working together better, but we still need to work on our communication," Martinez said. "When we're down, or tied, we get a little quiet but once we get ahead, we're really onto it. We make better shots, we pass better and we talk more."
Wichita Southeast 0 0 -- 0
Garden City 0 2 -- 2
GC--Megan Martinez, unassisted, 66th minute.
GC--Megan Martinez, assist Cecilia Alvarez, 69th minute.
Shots--Southeast 8, Garden City 17. Saves--Southeast (Matos 7), Garden City (Richman 7). Penalties--Southeast (Amalia Miranda-Cortez, red card), 61st minute.