HHS soccer rolls in first round
By KLINT SPILLER
Hays High School senior goalkeeper Laura Truman doesn't mind not touching the ball as long as zeros stay up on the scoreboard for opposing teams.
That's good, because sometimes, she goes for long periods watching and cheering on her teammates without seeing the ball come remotely close to her.
That was the case Tuesday at HHS Field when the Indians defeated Great Bend 5-0 in the first round of the Class 5A girls' regional soccer tournament.
"I don't get bored, because I try to stay in the game and keep talking," Truman said. "The more I talk, the more into it I get."
The Indians were so dominant, they didn't even allow Great Bend (1-16) to record a shot on goal, meaning Truman had zero saves.
Either way, it goes down as a shutout — the Indians' 10th of the season.
Hays High (14-2-1) has allowed nine goals this year, the fewest in a regular season in school history, and are approaching the overall record for an entire season — 18 allowed in 2010.
Truman has played a significant role in that feat, but it hasn't just been because of her. The Indians' success on defense is interconnected with the entire team.
Hays High's forwards and midfielders are so good at possession that opposing teams struggle to even reach the back layer of defense, and when they do, they get smothered by Hays High's sweeper-stopper defense.
"I just go out every game hoping we shut them out," said junior sweeper Reagan Kaiser. "If we do, we do, and if we allow one, then we get it back and come out on top."
When they actually do get shots off, then Truman can make plays, which she loves doing.
"I do feel like when I do get the ball and I do make an awesome save, I feel appreciated and that I'm actually needed," she said.
It was a dominant performance Tuesday. Hays High out shot Great Bend 29 to 1, and the Indians placed 15 of their shots on goal.
"I really thought we did a lot of things well," said Hays High coach Chris Michaelis. "I really encouraged the girls to use the width of the field, not only on the offensive end but also on the defensive end."
The Indians obtained another milestone when senior outside midfielder April Johnson recorded an assist, tying the career record of 15. She has six assists this season, tied for the team lead.
"She doesn't get the stats as far as goals and that type of stuff, and often times, her play goes unnoticed," Michaelis said. "But I do know opposing coaches know who she is, and when opposing players get done playing, they know who she is, too."
The Indians' career scoring leader, senior forward Taylor Herman, finished with two goals and an assist. She now has a team-high 13 goals — four short of tying her season record she set last year — and six assists, which is tied with Johnson.
Senior forward Megan Bird scored her ninth goal of the season.
Senior midfielder Shelby Dinkel contributed an assist and a goal, and senior forward Michele Linville had a goal. For Dinkel and Linville, it was their fifth goals of the season.
Junior outside midfielder Rachel Luedders and senior defender Lauren Murphy also each posted an assist.
Michaelis said part of the offense's success is because Hays High's defense is so good at intercepting passes, reversing the opponent's momentum and facilitating counter attacks.
"They have to be smart defensively, but they also have got to be able possess the ball and have good ball control to make those passes and get it up to the players up front so they can score," Michaelis said.
Hays High's back line revolves around three girls who rarely leave the game for rest.
Murphy and senior Kaitlin Gulley play outside defenders, while Kaiser, the sweeper, serves as an on-the-field coach and stops opponents from breaking behind the defense.
Kaiser said their chemistry together is strong since they've played so long with each other.
"We know how each other are going to work pretty well," she said. "Even if we don't call it or do call it, we usually know who is going to go for it."
Hays High 5, Great Bend 0
Great Bend (1-16) 0 0 — 0
Hays High (14-2-1) 4 1 — 5
Hays High — Herman, 4th minute (S. Dinkel).
Hays High — Linville, 22nd minute (Luedders).
Hays High — S. Dinkel, 33rd minute (Herman).
Hays High — Bird, 40th minute (Murphy).
Hays High — Herman, 66th minute (Johnson).