By EARL WATT
• Leader & Times
The hardest job in Liberal Thursday might have been the ball chasers at Redskin Field.
Straight line winds blowing to the north made it difficult to control the soccer ball, and many sailed beyond the field fence.
Fortunately for the Redskins, two shots found their mark in a 2-0 Western Athletic Conference victory over Hays in the first half, and the Redskins were abel to fend off a Hays attack in the second to earn the victory.
Liberal goalkeeper Ricardo Castro was tested in the second half when Hays had the wind to its back, but Castro stepped up to the challenge by preventing any of the opportunities to reach the net.
Castro made several diving stops to preserve the Liberal win.
In the first half, the Redskins poured shots at the Hays goal, but the wind caused the ball to sail high and pass through the football goal posts several times.
Liberal scored a quick goal to take a 1-0 lead, and midway through the first half Esteban Michel added another to gie the Redskins the 2-0 advantage.
But Liberal coach Lori Navarro was not pleased with a 2-0 lead at half. She told her team to push harder and to not overlook Hays in preparation for the final two games of the season which will determine the WAC champion.
Great Bend protected its first place standing in the WAC Thursday by defeating Garden City 4-1. Great Bend has a one-game lead over Liberal, but three critical games in the final week of the regular season will determine the conference champion.
The first is Tuesday when Great Bend will face Dodge City. If the Red Demons lose, the race will be down to Liberal and Great Bend.
If Dodge wins, then the match-up between Liberal and the Panthers at Great Bend Oct.17 will be huge because the two will be tied.
If Great Bend drops both of the next games, then the Oct. 20 season finale at Redskin Field between the Redskins and Dodge will determine the WAC champ.