By EARL WATT
• Daily Leader
The heavily-favored Liberal Redskins did not disappoint in the opening round of post-season play Tuesday. Seven Redskins scored in a rout over Western Athletic Conference opponent Great Bend, and the defense never allowed a shot on goal in the 7-0 win.
Liberal advanced to the second round of the playoffs and will host Newton at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
“It took us a little bit to get started, but once we got that first goal, a lot more came behind it,” Liberal coach Lori Navarro said.
Seventeen minutes ran off the clock before Liberal scored the first goal of the game, and almost every second of that time was played on the Great Bend side of the field.
The Liberal offense continued to put pressure on the Panthers, and finally caused them to crack when Alberto Aguilar lofted a kick from about 30 yards out that floated over the Great Bend goalie’s extended arms and into the top of the net for a 1-0 lead.
Less than 30 seconds later, Hector Mata received a pass in the middle, split two Panther defenders, juked the goalie and gently tapped the ball into an undefended net for a 2-0 Redskin advantage.
The revamped Redskin front line cut through the Panther defense again with 18:44 to play in the first half when Nestor Morales broke straight on the goal and drove the ball past the Panther goalie for a 3-0 lead.
Isai Gutierrez added a fourth goal for the Redskins when he collected a loose ball in front of the Panther goal and drove the ball to the back of the net.
Jeffery Flores continued the offensive show early in the second half after receiving a pass from Alfredo Garcia in front of the Great Bend goal and scored the chip shot for a 5-0 lead.
Jose Chavira later passed to Cesar Jurado who put another goal on the board for a 6-0 lead.
Alex Gilmore completed the scoring for the Redskins late in the second half after receiving a pass from Ariel Portillo and driving the ball past the Great Bend goalie for the 7-0 lead.
Great Bend attempted to push the ball into Redskin territory late in the game, and pulled the goalie up to help. BUt even with the one-man advantage the Panthers could not get a shot on goal. Liberal’s defense didn’t give the Panthers a shot the entire game.
“The defense gave us the home field advantage,” Navarro said. “When you average one goal a game and win, it’s about defense. I hope we continue to not allow any goals and put two behind the net. That would seal it for us.”
The Redskins will host Newton in the second round in the South Central Regional of the Class 5A playoffs.
Newton defeated Wichita West 2-1 to advance.
“We haven’t seen them, but that’s an advantage,” Navarro said. “We won’t take them lightly.”
In other South Central action, McPherson beat Arkansas City 4-0, Winfield needed a penalty kick to defeat Hutchinson 1-0, Andover Central blanked Valley Center 2-0, and Kapaun knocked off Bishop Carroll4-0.