By AUSTIN COLBERT
While playing soccer last summer, Hays High School senior Wendy Zimmerman came to the realization that she still had a hunger to play the sport competitively.
She comes from a soccer family and has played the game most of her life, often on club teams. But for the first three years of her high school career she didn't play on the Indians' soccer team, instead focusing on track and field in the spring.
"I saw that I really missed it so I really wanted to get back out on the field. It's my senior year. You just got to go for it and do what you can do to have fun with it," Zimmerman said. "I was really stoked. Either way, if we were going to win or lose, I was so happy to be out there to help the team and contribute."
Only, she didn't expect to contribute this much so soon.
The Hays High girls' soccer team opened its season Thursday against Thomas More Prep-Marian, and it was Zimmerman, in her first high school soccer game, that scored the contest's only goal to give the Indians a 1-0 overtime win over TMP at the HHS field.
"We were looking really for a breakaway to get that score ... I think the midfielders kind of came up and stepped it up and they looked up the field and saw what they needed," Zimmerman said. "I think it was a big adrenaline rush for all of us, and it was a great thrill."
The goal came after the teams played to a 0-0 draw in regulation. Class 5A Hays High (1-0) has never had any trouble with Class 3A TMP (0-1), so for the Monarchs to even get the game to extra time is a major indicator of where the program is headed.
"I figured we would play a good game. I wish I could have bought a goal in that second half. I think it could have went the other way just as easily," TMP coach Darryl Wellbrock said. "We really didn't get a good attack in the second half, but we got on our half of the field, which I was glad to see."
Hays High, with the wind in its favor, controlled the ball throughout most of the first half and didn't allow the Monarchs a single shot on goal. TMP's offense had the advantage in the second half but still had trouble getting anything on net.
The teams went to overtime scoreless, when Hays High senior Blair Street connected with Zimmerman, who raced by her defender and put the ball past TMP freshman goalie Deonna Wellbrock for the win.
"Wendy did a great job keeping her composure and not getting in a hurry," Hays High assistant coach Matt Brooks said. "We lost some seniors off last year's team, but I think the kids coming in are replacing them really well. We did some really good things today and we did some things where you could tell it was the first game."
Hays High next plays at the McPherson Invitational beginning Tuesday. TMP will host Wichita Independent on Thursday at the Bickle/Schmidt Sports Complex.
Saul Hernandez, in his first season as the head girls' soccer coach at Hays High, missed Thursday's season opener because of personal reasons ... Hays High freshman Courtney Molleker hyper-extended her knee in the first half against TMP but is expected to miss no more than one or two games ... TMP sophomore Morgan Weber sprained her ankle in the second half but should be able to return to the practice field early next week.