HHS soccer improves to 6-2, beats Great Bend
By AUSTIN COLBERT
The Hays High School girls' soccer team lost four first-team All-WAC players from last season's 15-3-1 squad, leaving a group made of mostly freshmen to fill the void this spring.
Eight games into the 2014 season, the youngsters are proving they can more than fill those shoes.
"I'm really happy with their progress. They are understanding the system and what we want them to do," Hays High coach Saul Hernandez said. "They just go out there and do what they were told and are filling in real nice. They are making big goals for us when we need them to."
And the freshmen stepped up big again on Tuesday in a 2-0 win over winless Great Bend at HHS Field. Talyn Kleweno and Tressa Becker, both freshmen, scored the goals in the Indians' first home game since the season opener against Thomas More Prep-Marian, a 1-0 overtime victory.
"I think we are playing better than we did the first game," Becker said. "We are going to get better as the season goes on and we are getting more comfortable with each other and connecting our passes well."
Hays High (6-2, 3-0 WAC) has scored 17 goals this season. Of those 17, eight were scored by seniors and eight more by freshmen. Kleweno's four goals this season leads all players, while Becker's three goals are tied for second with senior Wendy Zimmerman. Maddie Keller is the third freshman goal scorer.
On Tuesday against Great Bend, Kleweno's goal in the 38th minute stopped a defensive standoff and gave the Indians a 1-0 halftime lead.
"It was big, just to get us started and to keep the momentum going," Kleweno said of her goal. "I felt like they played a more defensive game and we had the right attack for it, but just couldn't finish. But once we got an attack going we started to pick it up and relax and just play."
Despite numerous opportunities, Hays High wasn't able to get any extra breathing room until Becker's goal with less than six minutes to play in the second half.
"I didn't want them to score and didn't want to go to overtime. I was kind of relieved when I got that goal," Becker said. "I didn't think it was going to go in, but then it just kind of slipped through her fingers, and I was glad because we needed that."
The win is the fourth in a row for Hays High and its first shutout since the win over TMP in the opener. The Indians are off until Monday, when they travel to Garden City for a 4 p.m. contest.