In a game that felt close the entire night, the Dodge City Red Demons remained undefeated, beating the Hays Indians 3-1 in Dodge City Tuesday.
Sophomore Alan Lopez had two goals, including the team's third which all but sealed the win for the Red Demons.
With the win, Dodge City remains undefeated at 11-0-0 and 6-0-0 in Western Athletic Conference play. The Red Demons also preserved their No. 1 position in the Central/South Central Section Regional of 6A Kansas boys soccer.
It was far from a spotless performance for the Red Demons, who committed an uncharacteristic number of mistakes Tuesday night.
"Our energy levels were down. That wasn't our best night," Red Demon head coach Saul Hernandez said. "We need to fix that and quick, because we've got two tough road games coming up at Shawnee Mission South and Lawrence Free State and we can't be at that energy level against those types of teams. Maybe against Hays we don't need that (better energy level) but we need to bring it every game."
Hernandez said he thought it was possible the energy level the team brought contributed to some of their little mistakes Tuesday night.
"I think maybe the kids overlooked them," Hernandez said. "We try not to overlook anybody, as a coaching staff we try to get them ready, but maybe the kids overlooked them and took it as another easy win and that's not the case. We can't be overlooking anybody at any point in the season."
Hernandez said the team will look at film and look at what they made.
Going into such tough matches as the season nears its end and the playoffs loom, Hernandez said there is plenty to work on.
"We have to start finishing our chances," Hernandez said. "We're making the other keepers in the state by shooting right at them. You know, how many shots did we shoot at (Hays' keeper)? Even (penalty kicks), we've missed our last two PK's that we shot against them and against Great Bend. We're making them look great by shooting at them. We can fix that, and I think we'll be able to improve on that later on in the games."
The Red Demons dominated possession in the first half, and got most of the scoring chances. With 18:20 left in the half, sophomore Daniel Rojas gave the Red Demons a 1-0 lead which they took into halftime.
In the second half, neither team wasted any time. The Red Demons scored in the first minute to take a 2-0 lead on a goal by Lopez. Just seconds later, Hays senior Tragdon McCrae beat a Dodge City defender and scored to cut the lead back to a single goal at 2-1.
With just under 34 minutes left in the second half, Hays senior goalkeeper Connor Teget stopped the a penalty kick by the Red Demons and the rebound went just wide to the keeper’s left.
Teget made strong saves throughout the night for the Indians.
Still, with 5:10 left in the second half, Lopez gave the Red Demons more insurance, putting the ball in the back of the net to give the Red Demons a 3-1 lead.
The Red Demons travel to take on Hays Thomas More Prep Marian Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
Junior varsity result:
The Red Demons junior varsity squad beat the Indians’ junior varsity team 6-0 before the varsity teams took the field Tuesday night.