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TMP soccer suffers loss at Garden City

By BRETT MARSHALL

Special to The Hays Daily News

GARDEN CITY -- For the first time this soccer season, the Thomas More Prep-Marian girls' soccer team found itself in a deep hole at halftime Tuesday against the Garden City Buffaloes.

The hole, a 4-0 deficit, was too deep to find a way out and the Monarchs finished on the short end of a 5-0 shutout.

Tuesday's loss evened the Monarchs' record at 2-2, but coach Darryl Wellbrock was not deterred from the progress his youthful team continues to make.

"We haven't been down this far all season, but I don't think there was any quit in them during the second half," Wellbrock said. "We've been in an overtime game, we've had a mercy rule game, but nothing like this."

Garden City, a perennial power in the Western Athletic Conference, was simply too fast, and too well-drilled for the Monarchs.

"They're really good at what they do, and it's hard to match the kind of speed they have," Wellbrock said of Garden City.

The teams had to battle for a half each against a 20 to 25 mph wind from the south, and the Buffs got the better end of the deal as they scored four times into the wind in the opening 40 minutes to take command.

The numbers were respectable, but the fact the Monarchs managed to get off just seven shots, their defense gave up 14 shots to Garden City. TMP goalkeeper Deonna Wellbrock managed four saves in net.

Garden City got its first, and the winning goal in the 14th minute off an unassisted score by Tiffany Butler. Amber Miller, who had a three-goal hat trick for the Buffs, scored five minutes later for a 2-0 and Garden was off to the races.

Miller tacked on another goal in the 22nd minute off an assist from Megan Martinez and then Martinez finished off the assault with a goal in the 29th minute.

In the second half, the Monarchs seemed determined to not let the score get out of hand, something that weighed heavily on Wellbrock, who is in his fifth year guiding the fledgling program.

"In the past, we've seen some big blowouts, but not this time," Wellbrock said. "I thought the girls showed a lot of improvement in their passing, moving the ball more. Our second attackers are understanding better where to move."

Wellbrock said it was encouraging to see the improvement of his young squad, comprised mostly of freshmen and sophomores, with a smattering of juniors. Only one senior is on the roster.

"It is exciting to have young kids working hard and trying to get better," Wellbrock said. "What do we need to work on? I'll ask the girls afterward, but I'm sure speed of play will be something we talk about."

The Monarchs are slated to host Wichita Word of Life at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.