Castillo's goal gives Garden City win over Liberal

GCHS Athletics
Garden City High School's Anahi Castillo, left, moves the ball upfield past Great Bend's Yulisa Valdez during a Western Athletic Conference matchup April 8 at Buffalo Stadium. Castillo scored the lone goal of the game for the Buffaloes Tuesday for a win at Liberal.

LIBERAL - There hasn’t been a lot of goals in recent games for the Garden City Buffaloes girls’ soccer team, and that was the case once again Tuesday in Liberal for the final regular-season match of the 2021 campaign.

But the goal scored in the 68th minute by senior Anahi Castillo was all the Buffs needed in a 1-0 victory that left them with a 4-4 record in the Western Athletic Conference and assured themselves of no worse than at tie for third and provided them with a 9-7-0 regular-season record ending with a three-game winning streak, all by 1-0 scores.

“Throughout the season, there were many times where we couldn’t pull off that extra inch to get a tough win,” GCHS Coach Jose Vital-Caro said. “Today, we really worked hard to overcome that obstacle and get the win.”

The Buffs out-shot the Lady Reds 14-5 with GCHS goalkeeper Niera Calderon registering 11 saves.

“I am beyond proud of every single girl on the team,” Vital-Caro said. “They did everything we asked of them and they gave it their heart. When they needed a sub, they did not hesitate to ask for help from their teammates. Today was a perfect example of how we can win if we put in the hard work.”

The Buffs will now await the regional pairings which will be determined on Saturday, May 15. Currently, they sit in the No. 6 slot which would mean if they remain there, they would host a regional semifinal either Monday or Tuesday of next week against the No. 11 seed (currently Junction City, 6-9). The winner of that game would face the winner of the 3 vs. 14 game for the regional title and a chance to advance to the state quarterfinals. Currently, Wichita East is the No. 3 seed and Lawrence High the No. 14 seed.

Liberal saw its season record slip to 7-8 and they are 3-4 in the WAC. They face Dodge City on the road Thursday in the regular-season finale for both teams. Dodge City is 8-6 overall and 4-3 in the WAC. Hays has already clinched the WAC title by going 8-0 and is 13-2 overall in Class 5A.

Garden City 0 1 -- 1

Liberal 0 0 -- 0

Second Half

GC—Anahi Castillo, goal, 68th minute, unassisted.

Shots—Garden City 14, Liberal 5. Saves—Garden City (Calderon 11).