HHS soccer claims 1-0 win against Garden
By KLINT SPILLER
Hays High School's soccer field is a rough place to play. The patchy grass field is like nothing Garden City had seen this season.
The Buffaloes spend most, if not all, of their time on turf fields, so when they stepped onto HHS Field, it took some getting used to, said Garden City senior Haley Brennaman.
The hard surface can be unforgiving, and patches of grass can make balls careen off course.
"Even just to pass, you don't know where the ball is going to go, because the grass can take it a different direction," Brennaman said.
Hays High used its field to its advantage Monday and won 1-0 against Garden City.
Hays High (6-2, 3-0 WAC) dominated the possession for much of the game, and the Indians' defense squelched any attempt by the Buffaloes to create a spark on offense.
For Hays High junior Lacey Pfannanstiel, she said she thought her squad's hard work paid off.
"I hope we can continue to improve and keep going for the wins," Pfannenstiel said.
Garden City (3-4, 1-1 WAC) finished with just five shots in the match, only four on goal and even fewer of any real threat to Hays High freshman goalkeeper Brittany Dinkel.
"We didn't get the shots that we wanted, and the ones we had we missed them," said Garden City head coach Joaquin Padilla.
Dinkel was filling in for starter Laura Truman, who was out after experiencing oral surgery last week. In the box, though, Dinkel looked like a grizzled veteran.
"Brittany did a phenomenal job as a fill-in goalkeeper right off the bat," said Hays High head coach Chris Michaelis.
"You could tell she played goalkeeper in previous years, because she made a lot of good decisions and wasn't hesitant to come off her line."
The Indians posted eight shots -- five on goal.
Hays High pulled ahead in the 24th minute when Garden City's defender left Hays High's single-season scoring record holder, Taylor Herman, open near the top of the box.
Herman took advantage of the extra space and fired a shot that bounced off the top of the crossbar over the outstretched hands of freshman goalkeeper Ashley Richman and into the goal.
"It was a great goal outside the 18 there," Michaelis said. "... A lot of that was attributed to us playing the ball wide. They were expecting us to play the ball wide. Then you turn to hit it, and they give you that space to hit it."
The Buffaloes' roster was already thinned. Padilla said he only had about three healthy girls available on his bench in the second half.
"We played with what we had," Padilla said. "Unfortunately, we didn't score."
Meanwhile, Hays High had a girl return from injury.
Senior defender Lauren Murphy had missed much of the season with a quad injury but returned Monday as a starter. She even took several corner kicks.
"I made a conscious effort the last two weeks to sit her and not play her at all," Michaelis said. "Hopefully, that time and rest would help heal that up for her. I was concerned about it today with it being a cold, windy day and the chance of her re-injuring it, but I think we got through today OK."
Michaelis said he was much more pleased with his team's play in the first half than in the second half. The Indians finished with four shots on goal in the first half and one in the final period.
"We did a really good job of playing the ball wide and spreading them out," he said.
Pfannenstiel said the team has worked hard on retaining possession and moving the ball forward.
"In practice, we try to open up and switch and get the ball wide," she said. "I think practicing that really paid off today, especially in the wind because we got the through balls."
Monday night, the USD 489 Board of Education accepted Michaelis' resignation as soccer coach, effective after this season. He will stay on as a teacher.