Once Great Bend broke the ice with Luis Zamarripa’s wind-aided goal, the Panthers overpowered Salina Central 4-0 in Tuesday’s non-league match at Cavanaugh Field. The Panthers (3-1) start Western Athletic Conference play at Liberal Thursday.
Zamarripa floated a perfect centering pass in front of Central’s goal, and it deflected past Mustang goalie Grant Sheppard, who was unable to corral the tipped ball at the 36:27 mark of the second half.
The Panthers dictated the game’s tempo with efficient passing and player movement, but were tied 0-0 at halftime due to hustling Mustang defense. Time-after-time, the Panthers pressured Mustang goalie Sheppard, who answered every challenge.
Panthers Jaime Arellenas (31:10), Armando Leyva (30:30) and Jesus “Chiny” Sanchez (4:08) converted second-half goals to lock down the victory. Midfielder Johnathan Pasos set up Arellanes with a perfect pass that he blasted into the net from long range. Leyva scored on a penalty kick when the Mustangs were whistled for a handball. Sanchez kept charging the net until he tipped home a goal in the final minutes.
“I’m very pleased. We played our game today,” said Great Bend coach Jesus Loera. “We passed the ball really well. Our passes were on target and we did a nice job possessing the ball. Our ball movement was really good. The guys are working together.”
The Mustangs did a solid job pressuring Panther goalie Daniel Cervantes, who preserved the shutout with Malcolm Berkley, Nolan Foley and Avery Regier on a one-on-one breakaway.
Loera said the Mustangs were a solid team.
“We were fortunate we were better skilled,” Loera said. “Salina Central played with a full effort. They are very well coached and well disciplined. They played a really good game.”