By Mike Pilosof
Photos by Adam Shrimplin
Garden City, KS-When all is said and done, Northeastern may be the most physical team Garden City plays all year.
Four times in the first half, play stopped for injury timeouts. Sprinkle in the fact that the Plainsmen had three yellow cards, and by the time the final horn sounded, the pounding had taken its toll.
The Broncbusters were held to just two shots on goal, Northeastern scored twice in the final 40 minutes, and the Plainsmen beat Garden City 3-1 Friday night at Broncbuster Stadium.
"The girls gave a ton of effort throughout the course of the game, but the soccer side of things continues to let us down at times," Head Coach Corey Bryant said. "Northeastern was super physical."
That physicality may have cost Garden City a couple of their key players, including Catherine Small, who suffered a left ankle sprain.
"They beat up on us pretty bad," Bryant explained. "We have to learn to match that kind of physicality."
Despite being pushed around for most of the first half, the Broncbusters more than held their own. The game remained scoreless for the first 39 minutes before the Plainsmen finally broke through. Courtney Dinkel made her way into the box, juked to her right, and rolled a ball past Kaylee Keller to put Northeastern up 1-0.
"We just have to continue to grind," Bryant added. "This is a marathon."
Early in the second half, Northeastern struck again. The Broncbusters were called for a questionable foul, giving the Plainsmen a penalty kick from 10 yards out. Jenna Vidal was spot on, angling the ball into the corner of the net, putting the visitors on top 2-0.
The physical jostling continued just a couple of minutes later when Northeastern was called for a foul near the box. The Broncbusters took full advantage, and Noeli Munoz netted her second goal of the season to slice the deficit in half.
"The results will come," Bryant said. "We just have to keep working."
Garden City had ample opportunity to tie the match in the second half. But each shot clanged off the post. Meantime, Northeastern finally put the game away with Amber Hurtado's goal in the 70th minute.
"We will get there eventually," Bryant said. "It's a long season."
Northeastern outshot Garden City 13-8. Keller recorded five saves.
Garden City is back home on Wednesday against Barton. Kickoff time is slated for 4:30 p.m.