The wakeup call came two minutes into the game.
And while the Thomas More Prep-Marian boys’ soccer team started to come alive, it was a little too late to do anything about it in a 7-0 loss to Garden City on Tuesday afternoon at Bickle/Schmidt Sports Complex in Hays.
“I think a lot of it is that it’s a busy week at TMP with homecoming, and they’re at float building today, and sometimes their minds weren’t just in it,” said coach Shea Koerner. “Unfortunately, it took a goal to get everyone focused.”
The Monarchs (2-4) settled down after allowing the early goal and held the Buffaloes scoreless for the next 20-plus minutes.
But in the 24th minute, Garden City senior Kevin Benitez found the back of the goal, making it 2-0.
“We really emphasize that we need to get on the board first,” said Garden City coach Joaquin Padilla. “That puts a little more pressure on them. If we go the opposite way, then we don’t get to do what we want to do. At times we played the way we wanted to play, and at times, we were lazy and didn’t get the touches we wanted. I guess it’s kind of a 50-50 balance in how we played.”
A barrage of goals in a three-minute span blew the game open.
Junior Salvador Bustos tallied goals in the 33rd and 34th minutes, his second one coming off a header in the box.
Sophomore Jesus Garcia followed in the 36th minute, making it 5-0 at halftime.
“I think the problem that we run into with that is the first half, especially against teams that are bigger than us, we just seem to take it slow,” Koerner said. “It’s unfortunate. We try to talk to them at halftime and get their heads back into it the best we can. They clearly reformed. Our assistant coach wanted to put in all the subs and teach them. I said let’s give them five minutes, and that five minutes turned into about 30, 35 minutes because they kept playing hard.”
The Monarchs showed more energy in the second half, especially early. But TMP never could get a shot to find the back of the net.
“We see that just about every game,” Koerner said. “As we talk to them, and I know their parents have said it and other people that watch us have said it, they have to take those little moments and make an entire game out of it.”
Garden City got two more second-half goals in the 61st and 77th minutes to cap the scoring.
Koerner said the loss was tough, but he was pleased with the effort at times against the larger Class 6A opponent.
“We talk about it almost every year, and it’s kind of the same old song and dance,” he said. “When you’re playing 6A schools and 5A schools and you have a little over 200 kids in your school divided up between football and soccer, you take the kids that really want to play and you do what you can with them.”
TMP will host Buhler for a 4 p.m. contest Thursday.