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HHS soccer falls 1-0, sees season end

By KLINT SPILLER
kspiller@dailynews.net

After the Hays High School girls’ soccer team gathered for its post-game meeting, seniors Taylor Herman and April Johnson latched together in a tear-filled embrace. Seniors Megan Bird, Kaitlin Gulley and Lauren Murphy soon joined the group hug, each saying their own goodbyes.

It was a difficult farewell for a group that had played soccer together since grade school, but following the 1-0 loss to Wichita-Bishop Carroll on Tuesday in the Class 5A state quarterfinals at HHS Field, their season, and for many their career, had officially come to an end.

“I’m going to start crying if I talk about it,” said Herman, the school’s career scoring leader. “It was amazing. They made it worth it to play.”

These Hays High seniors were more like pioneers in their four years than Indians, as they led the squad into uncharted territory.

Before them, Hays High never made a state quarterfinal, let alone the final four, which they reached last season as juniors.

“I’ve played with these girls since we were little,” Bird said. “It’s really hard to say goodbye to everybody now.”

In the seniors’ final year, Hays High finished 15-3-1, posting the best regular season record in school history.

And in their four years, they went 52-22-3, reached the state quarterfinals twice, final four once, established the longest winning streak in school history at 12 games, broke the school scoring record with 48 goals as juniors, matched that scoring record their senior year and shattered the scoring defense record with 11 goals allowed this season — an unmatched resume in Hays High girls’ soccer.

“It was awesome to see the transformation we made from our freshman and sophomore years to our junior and senior years,” Bird said.

As good as Hays High has been this season, on Tuesday, Bishop Carroll (15-1-3) was simply better.

The Golden Eagles possessed the ball well and played aggressively, making it difficult for the Indians to move the ball into scoring position.

Bishop Carroll finished with seven shots on goal, while Hays High had four on goal.

“They are a tough team,” said Hays High coach Chris Michaelis. “They are well coached. They do a lot of things well, but I thought our girls were right there.”

Bishop Carroll got ahead in the 26th minute when sophomore Maria Walden attacked from the right.
Walden sent a cross to the left side of the field, and sophomore Shelby Lopez collected it and kicked it into the bottom right corner of the goal.

But Hays High had opportunities after that.

The closest came in the 43rd minute when senior Shelby Dinkel shot to the left of the goal. The ball flew past the diving goalkeeper, but the ball bounced out off the post.

“That was one of them where a fraction of an inch further right and it goes in and doesn’t hit that post,” Michaelis said.
Michaelis said bad luck sometimes comes in sports.

“We had two golden opportunities, but the ball just missed wide,” he said. “That’s unfortunate, but that’s the way athletics goes sometimes. You battle and battle, and you are so close to getting there and it misses by inches. Unfortunately today, we came out on the wrong side of that.”

Bishop Carroll has had Hays High’s number in recent years.

But in 2010, the Indians actually knocked off Bishop Carroll 1-0 in overtime on the road in the regional semifinals, but since then

Bishop Carroll has defeated Hays High 8-0 in regional play in 2011, 1-0 in the state consolation finals in 2012 and now 1-0 in the state quarterfinals.

“We’ve played them since we were freshmen,” Herman said. “We knew they were a good team. They are good with one touches. They are good at possession.”

However, for Michaelis, it was a good group with which to end his 15-year coaching tenure at Hays High.

“That’s the legacy they are going to leave in my mind, just how competitive these girls were,” Michaelis said.

The USD 489 Board of Education accepted Micahelis’ letter of resignation April 15.

The hire of assistant coach Saul Hernandez as the new head coach for boys’ and girls’ soccer was announced Monday at a Board of Education meeting.

Michaelis resigned to spend more time with family and explore different professional directions in education. He will remain at HHS as a teacher.

“Saul will bring a great work ethic,” Michaelis said. “... He’s played, and he’s worked really hard within the soccer community and working with the Hays Soccer Club. He’s a very knowledgeable young man. He’ll jump right in and move (the program) on.”