Tiger soccer snaps four-game losing streak
By CONOR NICHOLL
Fort Hays State University women's soccer coach Craig Shaw calls this season's team the most talented in his entire coaching career, including last fall's squad that made the NCAA Division II tournament. However, the talent hasn't resulted in many victories.
On Tuesday, Fort Hays defeated NAIA Bethany College, 2-1, but the Swedes controlled the last 30 minutes of the match at FHSU Soccer Stadium.
The Tigers ended their four-game losing streak and moved to 3-5 and Bethany went to 2-4.
"It's frustrating because we are so good," Shaw said. "We've just got to relate our practices and talents to results and game play."
Fort Hays held Bethany without a shot in the first half. The Tigers led 1-0 at halftime after a goal from sophomore Dani Harris at the 23:21 mark. Harris, formerly a defender, moved to forward to give Fort Hays more of a spark.
"Last year, we did great, and this year, it's a different feel," Harris said. "... I am so frustrated, because coming from last year, and winning and playing well and playing our game constantly, constantly and beating teams that no one expected us to beat, and then coming here, it's so frustrating. I think we are in a hole and all we have to do is dig ourselves out."
Just 81 seconds into the second half, FHSU delivered a remarkable play off a throw-in.
Sophomore Kylee Loneker found sophomore Ceynada Guzman in front of the net, who flipped up and delivered a goal off a bicycle kick.
Shaw said it's the first time he has ever seen a bicycle kick in a women's soccer game. Even the Bethany coach walked over to the midfield stripe and told Shaw, "That was pretty."
"I saw the ball coming, and it just happened to be a perfect ball," Guzman said. "When I was younger, pretty much all of high school, me and my dad would just mess around outside and play with the ball and practice just those little, silly things."
"We actually got old mattresses, and we put it outside, and we would practice just those balls," Guzman added. "I just had a flashback of when I was practicing with my dad, and just having the perfect ball, and it just came naturally."
Soon after that, Bethany took control. The Swedes scored in the 64th minute when Jeana Russell drove down the left sideline and scored on a breakaway.
"We gave the ball away in the middle of the field," Shaw said. "They get a counterattack and all of a sudden, they get a goal. All of a sudden, we are panicking and they are excited. That happens -- when we start panicking and don't play our game, they are going to get some chances."
Harris, the vocal leader, yelled "Pick it up" following the goal and a frustrated Shaw told the Tigers to "play their game." Fort Hays will play host to Missouri Southern State University on Friday.
"I came into the game thinking, 'OK, we are going to do this, we are going to play our game,'" Harris said. "But then second half, you could see clearly that we are not playing our game. I am the person to start picking people up. I am not yelling to be mean. I am yelling, because I want them to try and work as hard as they can."