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SPOTLIGHT
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Wind creates challenges in 7-0 Hays High win

Published on -10/19/2012, 10:26 AM

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By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

Braving near gale-force winds, the two crosstown soccer teams battled it out under a dust-filled sky created by a passing windstorm.

The game resulted in a lopsided 7-0 win for Hays High School against Thomas More Prep-Marian on Thursday at TMP Field, but the 35-mile-per-hour sustained winds with gusts closer to 60 miles per hour created a challenge for either team.

"I don't think I've seen windier conditions than we had today," Hays High coach Chris Michaelis said. "Our game plan going in was we had to keep the ball down on the ground."

Hays High (6-8-2) used the wind to its advantage throughout the match.

The Indians passed the ball far ahead of their teammates, allowing the ball roll back to their attacking players against the wind in the first half. Then in the second half, the Indians attempted longer passes and crosses with the wind at their backs.

"Personally, I don't think the wind really affected Hays High as much, and I think as the game goes, kids get used to it," TMP coach Shawn Lawson said. "I don't think the wind played much of a factor."

Meanwhile, TMP (4-11) threatened with long shots from set pieces, but the Monarchs struggled to move the ball into the box without a horde of Indians converging upon them and taking the ball.

"It was pretty tough," Hays High senior center back Cameron O'Connor said. "If we don't play it on the ground, then obviously we are not going to do as good as we did today. But we possessed the ball, kept the ball on the ground and controlled it."

Hays High didn't take long to adjust to the wind, scoring in just the fourth minute. Junior forward Jordan Windholz attacked from the left of the goal and crossed it low to junior midfielder Lane Clark. Clark shot it off TMP junior goalkeeper Collan Lawson, collected his own rebound and scored.

O'Connor added a goal in the 19th minute on a penalty kick following a TMP handball in the box. It was his first career goal.

"That is kind of the reason why I sent him up there to take the PK," Michaelis said. "He's a senior, and he's done a great job the last four years for us."

O'Connor has been a two-year starter for Hays High and saw considerable playing time his sophomore season, but he has played on the back line throughout his career so goal-scoring opportunities have been rare.

"I had a feeling I might (be called upon to take the penalty kick), but I didn't think I would considering I missed a couple in practice," O'Connor said. "When he called me up, I was surprised. I thought he would have Lane take them."

Clark put his team up 3-0 in the 27th minute. He received a pass from senior midfielder Kellen Griffin that rolled back to him, and Clark buried it to the right of Lawson.

Windholz started off the second half with a hat trick, scoring three goals within 14 minutes.

His first came in the 58th minute. Receiving a fast-break pass from Clark, Windholz shot to the left of Lawson.

The second was more spectacular. Senior midfielder Josue Lopez sent a long cross from 10 yards behind midfield near Hays High's bench toward Windholz, who was running diagonally down the field.

Windholz, on the edge of the penalty box, redirected the ball with his head into TMP's goal.

"I told him as Josue was about to hit it to look at Jordan's diagonal run," Michaelis said. "The timing of it was just excellent execution on their part."

Windholz's final goal of the match came in the 72nd minute. He collected a rebound inside the penalty box following a corner kick and scored.

Junior forward Shawn Herrman added the final goal in the 76th minute. Herrman broke away from the defense and scored on an assist from Clark.

Shawn Lawson said the match boiled down to two things: experience versus inexperience. The Monarchs' lineup is filled with underclassmen.

"They are a very experienced team, and we are inexperienced," he said.

However, this was the final match that TMP seniors Rodney Gracas de Deus and Robert Niyonsaba were scheduled to miss. Starting next week in the playoffs, TMP will have both starters back following suspensions for school policy violations.

"TMP is a good team," Michaelis said. "I think they are going to surprise some people in that regional. They've played a lot of the same teams we've played, and they are good, quality teams."

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