Silas Hibbs still believes the Hays High girls soccer team has a long way to go to reach its full potential.
But if the Indians can continue their current trajectory, Hibbs likes his team's chances of putting together a memorable season.
Led by junior Savannah Schneider, the Indians continued their mid-season surge with a sound 3-0 victory over Garden City on Monday at Hays High Field.
Hays moved to 6-2-1 overall and remained unbeaten in WAC play at 3-0-1.
“I think a lot of it has to do with them buying into the system. We’re trying to teach them a little more heady soccer,” Hibbs said. “I think they’re being a little more confident with how the ball is to flow through the back. Midway through the season, they’ve made progress, which is exciting.”
The Indians have notched five wins with one tie over their last six matches after starting the season 1-2.
“Definitely, in the beginning, we had a lack of communication and a lack of switching and ball movement,” Schneider said. “We didn’t possess it very good. Now, as the season is progressing, it’s really nice to see that all those components are taking place.
“We’re just finally meshing and rising up to our potential, so I’m just really excited for what the rest of the season has to hold.”
Schneider struck for back-to-back goals in about a three-minute span late in the first half to put Hays in control. She found the top shelf from long distance on both shots.
“It always started with Maggie (Robben) and then we dropped it to Kallie (Leiker). We just switched it and I was open,” Schneider said. “I just think the way we switch it and pass efficiently just worked well.”
Schneider also had a hand in Hays’ third goal with about 15 minutes left in the game after her shot trickled off the hands of Garden City goalie Kaylee Keller and was finished at the net by freshman Sierra Smith.
“Savannah played awesome,” Hibbs said. “That’s one of the best games I’ve seen her play — not only offensively by cracking some shots, but she did a great job holding down the middle of the field. We’ll kind of play her all over because she’s really versatile, which is a great thing to have as a coach. She just showed up to play today and it was really exciting and fun to watch.
The Indians controlled the tempo and rarely gave up any quality chances to the Buffaloes, who managed just one shot on goal.
“Sometimes the best offense is a good defense,” Hibbs said. “If the other team can’t touch the ball, then you’re doing a pretty good job limiting their opportunities. As long as we continue to possess it like that, I think we’ll have the results that we’ve had so far.”
Leiker recorded the assist on Schneider's first goal while Isabel Robben earned the shutout in goal.
Garden City fell to 7-2-1 overall and suffered its first conference loss, falling to 2-1-1 in the WAC.
“Hats off to them,” Garden City coach Joaquin Padilla said of the Indians. “They’re well coached and they played very well. They were able to take away the things we do very well.”
Hays will look to keep its streak going against Liberal on Thursday at home.
“I think if we continue to apply what we’ve learned each week, I think we’ll continue to get where we want to be,” Hibbs said. “But we have a long way to go.”