Ask Tim Doherty what Jose Escobedo means to the Kansas Wesleyan soccer team and he'll tell you he's the gift that keeps giving.
Doherty should know.
After Escobedo was tripped in the penalty area, it was Doherty who stepped to the spot and punched in what would be the game's only goal in the 64th minute Wednesday night as the Coyotes held on for a 1-0 Kansas Conference victory over Tabor at the Graves Family Sports Complex.
"I think I owe him a couple of drinks," Doherty said with a smile. "That's a couple of penalties he's won and he turns them over to me.
"He gets so many goals for us and he just uses his speed to win penalties."
Escobedo, who helped lead Salina South to a Class 5A state high school championship in 2015, then played two years at Barton Community College, made a run into the left side of the box and got tripped from behind by Tabor's Jeremy Krehbiel. Krehbiel got a yellow card and the referee pointed to the penalty spot, where Doherty was the clear choice to put it away.
"I don't really get nervous," said Doherty, who tucked it cleanly down low inside the left post for his fourth penalty this season. "They tried to distract me but I just try to stay calm.
"I know where I'm going to go before I take it and I don't change my mind. If you change your mind you usually end up somewhere in between and give them a chance to save it."
With the victory — their third in five days — the Coyotes improved to 8-4 overall with a 6-0 league record. Tabor fell to 4-7-1, 2-4-1 in the KCAC, but not without a fight.
"It was a tough game," said Doherty, a senior midfielder from Swords, Ireland. "It was our third game in five days, so that's always going to be tough.
"We're just happy to get the three points."
Wesleyan had the edge in possession and outshot Tabor 11-6 with each team putting four on frame. But Coyote keeper Luis Barrera was only tested once, making a reaction save on a close-range shot from forward Christopher Aguilar in the fourth minute.
"Tabor came in with a good game plan, and we had two tough games Saturday and Monday," said Wesleyan coach Diego Cocon, whose Coyotes had just one day off each between a 1-0 double-overtime victory over York and a 3-1 decision against McPherson. "They had the legs and we were tired.
"But I tell them, champions find a way to win."
Escobedo and Doherty clearly have become a winning combination.
"Jose has been amazing," Cocon said of Escobedo, who started as an outside defender but has since moved to center forward. "That's the third penalty he's won, just with his speed and work rate.
"And Tim is our go-to guy for PKs. It's a nice little duo: Jose gets the penalty kick and Tim scores."
The Coyotes travel to Kansas City on Sunday for their first-ever KCAC game against Avila.