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SPOTLIGHT
HHS soccer moves on to semifinals

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HHS soccer moves on to semifinals

Published on -5/23/2012, 10:07 AM

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By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

Hays High School girls' soccer coach Chris Michaelis said he wasn't worried with his team down 1-0 for the majority of the game against Wichita-Kapaun Mount Carmel. He knew his team would respond. After all, it always seems to.

Sure enough, the Indians (16-3) rallied to a 2-1 double overtime victory Tuesday at HHS Field. The win moves Hays High into this week's semifinals of the Class 5A state tournament in Topeka.

"We've given up the first goal in a number of games this year, and true to form, our girls stepped up and responded," Michaelis said.

Junior defender Lauren Murphy scored on two long bombs from near midfield to tie it in the 75th minute and take the lead in the second overtime.

"I don't think I could go (to Topeka) with a better team," Murphy said. "My team, I love them. They are great. Like coach told us, we don't have one superstar player.

"We are all great together," she added. "If we do our thing, we win. We are going to state. We are going to Topeka. We are going to win."

Kapaun (14-5) dominated the possession for the first two-thirds of the game, but Hays High got progressively better and better, controlling the ball and limiting Kapaun's scoring options.

Kapaun scored in just the second minute of the game to go up 1-0, as freshman Grace Hagan shot it from about 30 yards out to the top left corner of the goal past junior goalkeeper Laura Truman.

Though the team controlled the ball for the most part in the first half and early in the second half and had eight shots on goal, Kapaun couldn't extend its lead, failing to capitalize on opportunities.

With the game nearly over, Murphy delivered the tying goal in the 75th minute, shooting from 35 yards out from the left side of the field to the right side of the goal.

Murphy said she was more impressed with that shot than her second one, because Murphy, a predominately left-footed player, kicked it with her right.

"I had the wind, and I felt like I was holding that ball forever," Murphy said. "I just shot, and it went in."

From then on, Hays High dominated possession. The Indians didn't give up a shot on goal in the first overtime, despite Kapaun having the wind at its back.  

In the second overtime, Murphy capped the game with another goal from even longer range, shooting from just past midfield but inside the center circle and bouncing the ball over the goalkeeper's head to win it.

With strong winds and Kapaun limiting Hays High's ability to get the ball inside, Michaelis said he encouraged players to shoot from long range when they had the wind at their back.

"We had to take advantage of that," he said.

Murphy said even with the team down 1-0, Michaelis never lost faith.

"Coach told us at halftime that he was proud of us," Murphy said. "He was happy with where we are at. He had no negative words. I think Coach Michaelis really, really helped us get through this."

The Indians traditionally have struggled against the larger private schools in Wichita in the playoffs, losing 6-0 at Kapaun in 2010 and 8-0 at Wichita-Bishop Carroll in 2011.

Michaelis said the victory against Kapaun is more a sign of the girls' growth than it is a sign of the Hays High soccer program's development.

"These are great kids. They have great work ethic in the classroom," Michaelis said. "They have great work ethic on the practice field and obviously great work ethic on the game field when it happens."

The Indians will play Shawnee-Mill Valley (17-1) in the state semifinals Friday at Topeka Hummer Sports Complex.

After back-to-back wins requiring overtime, Michaelis said he's not getting tired of the drama.

"I'll take them every time," he said. "I'll take them every time."

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