Hays High soccer wins at Garden City

By BRETT MARSHALL

Special to The Hays Daily News

GARDEN CITY -- It's never been an easy trip to Garden City for the Hays High School girls' soccer team.

So when the Indians headed home mid-evening Monday after an impressive 3-1 victory over the Buffs in a key Western Athletic Conference showdown, it had head coach Saul Hernandez beaming over his youthful squad.

"One of our goals was to win the WAC again, and that's always gonna be tough when you lose nine seniors," Hernandez said. "Our freshmen are meshing well with the upperclassmen and we're right where we want to be."

The Indians, in fact, might well be in the driver's seat of the WAC race, already owners of three road wins (Dodge City and Liberal included).

"They (Garden City) have a good team and they make it hard on you to find a way to score," Hernandez said.

The game had its share of unusual scoring, especially the three goals that were scored in the final 12 minutes of the second half.

The Indians had taken a 1-0 lead in the first half when Talyn Kleweno, one of those freshmen Hernandez mentioned, drilled a shot high into the upper right side of the net past the outstretched arms of Garden's goalkeeper, Ashlee Richman. That came in the 28th minute and that lead stood until deep into the second half.

Garden City finally cracked through the stubborn Hays defense when Evelyn Rodriguez booted a ball high into the air just outside the goal on the left side.

Hays High goalkeeper Brittany Dinkel tried to swat it away with her left hand, but instead the ball trickled in over her head into the goal, tying the score at 1 in the 68th minute.

"She (Dinkel) tried to punch it out and it was really tricky with the wind blowing," Hernandez said of Dinkel's effort. "She did a great job, though, in keeping them from scoring the majority of the game."

In the closing minutes, the Indians broke the deadlock with an own goal, when a shot from the left side of the goal box deflected off the back of a Garden City player and into the Buffs' net. That came in the 76th minute.

And just as quickly, the Indians iced the game with an unassisted goal by senior Alexa Brull who sent a hard shot once again past the extended arms of Richman in the 78th minute.

Just like that, the Indians were on the verge of celebrating and they shared it with their throng of fans along the sidelines moments after the game was over.

"It's a big win for us," Hernandez said. "Anytime you can come here and win, it's important. We know their players, and we know what they like to do, and I thought our defenders did a good job keeping them from doing those things."

The Indians finished with 13 shots to Garden City's 16. Dinkel recorded five saves and Garden's Richman had eight.

With three WAC road wins already under their belt, the Indians will return to action at 1 p.m. Thursday when they host Liberal in another league match-up. They are now 7-2 overall and 4-0 in the WAC while Garden City falls to 4-3 and 1-1.