The Liberal Redskins came into their match up with Garden City unable to meet their state championship expectations. Without a single goal in the last five games, the Redskins were the underdogs up against the 5-1 Buffs. Home field turned out to be Liberal’s advantage as they earned their first big win of the season 2-1.
The wind was also a big factor. The team that played with it had the upper hand. Liberal took advantage of that early. Senior midfielder Misael Moncayo found his opening and pummeled Liberal’s first goal into the bottom right corner of Garden City’s net. The Buffs found themselves doing a lot of defending and with a few big saves by senior Goalkeeper Cesar Solorzano, the Buffs keep the Redskins at only one goal for the half.
Despite going against the wind throughout the second half, Liberal dominated possession of the ball. At the 12:46 mark Liberal allowed their play to develop. With a little patience Moncayo found junior midfielder Samuel Cruz in the middle of the field. A quick pass and Cruz hurled the ball above the head of Solorzano for Liberal’s second goal.
“When I saw the shot I just shot it,” Cruz said. “I thank God for the goal because I couldn’t believe I scored it. When I saw Misael on the left and then the open gap I just got to the middle of the field where the half circles are and found my shot.”
The Redskins thought they had sealed the game but there was plenty of time left for Garden City to come back. The Buffs created a sense of urgency as sophomore midfielder Erik Barragan made a goal for the Buffs. There were only a few minutes remaining but the Redskins knew they had to step up their defense. A solid stand and Liberal earned the win 2-1.
“It was very important to us,” Liberal head coach Lori Navarro said. “We have not been able to score in the last five games, so today in a big game and a big rivalry game against Garden City, who has been amazing it was big. They were 5-1 coming in here. For us to score two goals on them when we haven’t been able to score has just been good. It’s hopefully a step up from where we’ve been and hopefully a good momentum builder for our team.”
Cruz said the win meant a lot to him and his teammates because they are ready to once again prove all of their doubters wrong.
“We’ve been struggling and when we heard Garden City just came off of a big win that gave us more motivation,” he said. “Before the game we looked at last year’s championship and we said we could be the same team. We could actually have a better streak if we keep playing like this.”