The Red Demons dominated the Wichita West Pioneers Monday night, beating the Pioneers 2-0 in the Regional play-in game.
With the win, they’ll face Garden City at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Garden City High School, according to Dodge City Athletic Director Jay Gifford.
Dodge City was in control most of the game, getting almost all of the game’s significant scoring opportunities.
Despite the victory, Red Demons head coach Saul Hernandez said the team didn’t come out with the energy he hoped, particularly in a game that was an extra home game for the team to start the playoffs.
“It should be something special getting another chance to play at home in front of their friends and family, but they got the job done. We did what we needed to do to move on to the next round,” Hernandez said.
He said he felt like team played at a slow tempo Monday night.
“Against Liberal last Thursday, we looked like a different team than today,” Hernandez said.
He said if the Red Demons had played Monday night the way they played against the Liberal Redskins, a game in which the Red Demons and Redskins finished in a 2-2 draw, the Red Demons probably could have scored a couple more goals.
Red Demon junior Perla Ailon scored both of the game’s goals, the first with 22:39 left in the first half, and the second with about 33:54 left in the second half.
“Perla’s been one of our top performers the last few games,” Hernandez said. “She’s stepped it up. I know she had a goal in Liberal and she’s just hungry. You can tell she loves to play and she wants to be competitive. Her growth from the beginning of the season to where she is now has been pretty amazing. She’s been the focal point of our offense the last few games, so I’m really proud of what she’s doing.”
Tuesday’s game will undoubtably be a tough test for the Red Demons, who lost both times they played the Garden City Buffaloes during the regular season, by scores 4-0 and 1-0.
The Buffs finished the season 10-1-5 overall, and enter the Regional Tournament as the No. 2 seed.
While the Red Demons lost 1-0 the last time the team’s played, a game that took place in Dodge City, Hernandez said it showed the players they can hang with Garden City.
“Obviously they had more possession, but we have the ability to play up to a team’s level,” Hernandez said.
Monday night was an example of the Red Demons’ ability also to play down to an opponent’s level, Hernandez said.
“It’s one of the toughest things in soccer to beat a team three times in the same season,” Hernandez said. “I don’t think there’s going to be much pressure on us. We’re going to hopefully come out and play brave, and play with some confidence so we can maybe pull off an upset. If we do the small things correctly, it’ll give us a better chance, and if we come out with high energy, it’ll give us a better chance.”