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Hays High soccer on road for first round

Published on -10/22/2012, 10:26 AM

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By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

Hays High School boys' soccer coach Chris Michaelis said he hopes his team will be "scary" for any team to face in the playoffs.

The Indians (6-8-2) have had a rough season, going 1-5-2 in matches decided by one or fewer goals, but have picked up some signature wins and played in close matches against some of the best teams in the state.

"I would like to think we are a scary team for anybody that we face," Michaelis said. "I feel comfortable we'll be in a position to compete and win the game. When it's a one-and-done deal, you have to have a little bit of luck on your side, too."

Hays High will begin regional play against Liberal (7-8-1), the defending Class 5A state champions, Tuesday on the road. Game time is 6:30 p.m.

"A lot of our matches have been really close, and they could have (gone the other way)," said Hays High senior defender Cameron O'Connor.

Hays High has had Liberal's number this season, winning the first two matches, but Liberal historically has been the better team.

Prior to Hays High's sweep of Liberal during WAC play this season, Liberal had won 18 straight matches against the Indians dating back to 2003.

Hays High defeated Liberal 2-0 on Sept. 27 at Liberal and 3-2 in overtime on Oct. 4 at HHS Field -- the Indians' one win in a match decided by one or fewer goals this season.

"If I had one word to describe this group of seniors and what their leadership has meant to the program this year, it would be perseverance," Michaelis said. "We maybe didn't play real well early on in games, but we were always there in the end to give ourselves a chance to win."

Michaelis credited his players for staying positive even through the tough stretches.

"I've never had a team that struggled -- when you look at our win-loss record -- but still be so positive and work hard and have that never-say-die attitude," he said.

The Indians head into the regional tournament with some momentum, winning 7-0 against Thomas More Prep-Marian and falling 2-1 in overtime to Bishop Carroll -- ranked No. 5 in Class 5A according to the most recent Kansas Soccer Coaches Association poll.

O'Connor said the team's win-loss record doesn't describe how good Hays High actually is.

"I think we are going to do really good at regionals," he said. "I think we are a little underseeded, but we are going to come out and show people that we shouldn't be."

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