Two days after being crowned WAC champions, the Garden City Buffaloes team came out for their final regular-season game and drubbed the Wichita South Titans 4-0, as four different Buffaloes scored Friday night at Buffalo stadium.
The 4-0 win over Wichita South was an important one as it vaulted the Buffaloes (10-1-5, 5-0-3) over the Manhattan Indians (11-3-1) for the second seed in the Central/South Central regional, giving the Buffaloes the winner of the No. 15 Dodge City Demons-No. 18 Wichita West Pioneers play-in-game and guaranteeing Garden City at least one home game this postseason. The Buffs also would host the regional final if they win Tuesday’s match.
The official seeding will be done by KSHSAA on Saturday.
For the Buffs, the win on Friday continues a 13-match undefeated streak, going 8-0-5 since their first and only loss of the season.
“I thought we played pretty well today,” head coach Joaquin Padilla said of his team performance on Friday. “We moved the ball well, which is something that we have worked on and it’s coming along.”
That good ball movement started early for the Buffaloes, only needing eight minutes to score the first goal when sophomore Anahi Castillo found freshman Destinee Rojo for the opening goal.
Senior co-captain Elyssa Salazar scored her sixth goal of the season in the 29th minute, cleaning up a rebound and putting it past the Titan keeper to give Garden City a 2-0 lead.
Wichita South did keep the Buffalo backline honest, pushing the ball down the middle, but it wasn't anything the Garden City defense couldn't handle, allowing only one shot-on-goal all game, which didn't come until the closing minutes of the second half.
This was the defense’s fifth-consecutive shutout, and 10th this season.
“The defense is very young,” Padilla said. “We start our offense from the back and work forward and I think the defense is key to our success and they are doing a pretty good job, and I think we’ll get better as we hopefully move on.”
Sophomore Anahi Castillo took advantage of a Wichita South defensive mishap, scoring in the 41st minute — first minute of the second half — to essentially clinch the game for the Buffaloes with a 3-0 lead.
Senior co-captain Noeli Munoz made sure to put a bow on the win and scored her team-high 12th goal of the season in the 63rd minute.
The four goals against the Titans added to an already impressive 43-10 goal differential this season — the fifth-best differential in the Buffs’ region.
The Buffaloes lived on the Titans’ side of the pitch Friday, dominating the time of possession 60% to 40%, shooting 12 corner kicks to Wichita South’s zero and had 14 shots on goal, while the Titans only had the one.
It was a solid effort for a team coming off winning the WAC championship this week.
“Every game is important, because every win and loss counts and determines where you play at the end of the season,” Padilla said. “That’s something that we emphasize and we tell the girls that every game we play is important.”
The Buffaloes have had a successful season thus far, but Padilla knows that there is still work to be done.
“We want the girls to know that they achieved something this season and that their hard work paid off. They deserved it they earned it, and they wanted it, but we can’t be happy. We have to keep moving forward.”
The home regional game is tentatively scheduled for a 6 p.m. kick-off on Tuesday at Buffalo Stadium.