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SPOTLIGHT
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Indian soccer team has potential

Published on -8/26/2012, 6:12 PM

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By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

Last season was a roller-coaster ride for the Hays High School boys' soccer team.

Hays High struggled out the gates, starting 2-6, but corrected itself midway through the season.

The Indians won six of their next nine games before suffering a heart-breaking loss in the Class 5A regional championship game via penalty kicks at rival Great Bend.

Hays High coach Chris Michaelis said he hopes to continue that hot streak heading into this season.

"We've got a lot of potential this year with our squad," Michaelis said.

The Indians return their two leading goal scorers: senior forward Kellen Griffin and junior forward Jordan Windholz.

They each scored nine goals last season, and Griffin was an all-WAC honorable mention selection at midfield.

Though they return their top two scorers, their back line took a hit. Hays High graduated two of its best players from last season: Tanner Staab, an all-state defender, and Shane Sulzman, an all-WAC defender.

Michaelis said he expects senior Brady Kenton, senior Cameron O'Connor, junior Sheldon Sulzman and sophomore Colton Johnson to make up for their losses.

"We feel like we have a very good defense to step up," Michaelis said. "They played behind them last year. Hopefully, they learned from those guys what they need to do defensively."

Junior Lane Clark and senior Josue Lopez will play in the center midfield, and senior Cody Brown and junior Shawn Herrman will start at outside midfield.

Michaelis said he wants this team to be better mentally than previous teams.

"One of the things we are going to have to do different than we have in year's past is be a little more of critical thinkers out on the field and choose when we need to speed the play up and when we need to slow down," Michaelis said.

Michaelis said one of his team's goals is to reach the state quarterfinals -- a feat the Indians haven't achieved since 2002 when they finished second at the Class 5A state championships.

However, the season starts at 4 p.m. Monday at Garden City.

"(Garden City returns) a lot of great players from last year with a lot of experience," Michaelis said. "We are going to have to play to our best to stand a chance on Monday with them.

"We aren't putting all our eggs in that first-game basket, though," Michaelis continued. "There will be a lot of things we'll see and learn from that game to make improvements whether we win or lose."

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