Buffaloes fall short to Hays

GCHS Athletics
Garden City High School's Wendy Zamudio, center, moves the ball upfield to an open teammate April 15 against Dodge City at Buffalo Stadium.

For the second time in two weeks, the Garden City Buffaloes soccer team went toe-to-toe with Western Athletic Conference leading Hays High.

And for the second time, the Buffs came up just short, this time Monday night at Buffalo Stadium where the home team battled for 80 minutes before dropping a 2-0 decision to the visiting Lady Indians.

On April 19, the teams had battled in Hays with the Indians prevailing 2-1, and this one was every bit as close and every bit as tenacious as the first game.

Playing on another spring evening in miserable conditions (49 degrees, 10mph wind and rain), the Buffs won the battle of shots, taking 12 to the Indians’ six. The difference, though, came when Hays sophomore goalkeeper came up with save after save on tough shots by the Buffs to keep the home team off the scoreboard.

Katie Dinkel got the Indians on the board first just past two minutes into the first half on an unassisted goal. That stood up through the remainder of the opening 40 minutes.

“Our first half was a bit of a reality check,” head coach Jose Vital-Caro said afterward. “We opened the game negatively and didn’t really control the rhythm of the game.”

At the 38:16 mark of the second half, less than two minutes into the final 40, Hays secured a big goal when Madelyn Martin took a centered pass from Carly Lang and booted it into the net past a the Buffs’ keeper Ledaly Enriquez. Niera Calderon had been in goal for the Buffs for the first half and both keepers finished the game with 3 saves each.

Garden’s best opportunity, which included several direct kicks, came in the 44th minute when the Indians were whistled for a shoving violation deep in the Buffs’ scoring area, resulting in a penalty kick.

Wendy Zamudio attempted a low shot into the left edge of the net area only to have Hays’ super-keeper Julia Zimmerman making a diving save. The rebound off Zimmerman came back to Garden’s top scorer, Marcayla Mcgregor, who couldn’t get a rebound shot past Zimmerman.

“The second half was a bit more pleasing to see,” Vital-Caro said. “I thought the girls battled hard and were able to pull off a lot of shots on goal, even a penalty, but sadly we couldn’t capitalize tonight and things just didn’t go our way.”

Rain had begun before the start of the varsity match and before the final horn sounded, about .30 of an inch of rain had fallen and the temperature had dropped a few degrees.

“It’s sad knowing we have the potential to beat teams like this because the chances were there,” Vital-Caro said. “But that’s soccer sometimes, and we have to be the team that learns from our losses.”

The loss dropped the Buffs to 3-4 in the WAC and 6-6 overall, while Hays improves its WAC-leading record to 7-0 and are now 10-2 overall. The Indians’ lone setbacks have been against Maize South and Topeka High, both by single goal scores.

Next up for the Buffs will be a Thursday, in a Senior Night match with TMP-Marian of Hays. The pitch begins at 6 p.m. There is no junior varsity game with the Lady Monarchs and Senior Night will begin at 5:45 p.m.

Hays 1 1 -- 2

Garden City 0 0 -- 0

First Half

HHS—Katie Dinkel, unassisted, 2nd minute

Second Half

HHS—Madelyn Martin, goal; Carly Lang, assist; 42nd minute

Shots—Hays 6, Garden City 12. Saves: Hays (Zimmerman 8), Garden City 6 (Calderon 3, Enriquez 3).