Purchase photos

Indian soccer wins sixth straight

4/25/2014

By AUSTIN COLBERT

By AUSTIN COLBERT

acolbert@dailynews.net

For 17 years, Chris Michaelis guided the Hays High School girls' soccer team. Then, at the end of the 2013 season, he stepped down as coach, handing the reigns to then-assistant Saul Hernandez.

With Hernandez came a different philosophy for 2014, one that has taken the players a while to adapt to. But after the Indians defeated Liberal 3-0 on Thursday at the HHS Field -- a rematch of Hays High's 4-3 double overtime win on April 10 --  it's clear the girls are starting to figure it out.

"Coming in with different ideas than coach Michaelis had, the first few games they were not understanding what I wanted them to do," Hernandez said. "But every game they understand more of what I want from each one of them. They are understanding their roles."

Thursday's win over Liberal is the sixth in a row for the Indians this season after starting 2-2, which included back-to-back shutout losses to Maize South and Newton at the McPherson Invitational.

Hays High (8-2, 5-0 WAC) needed a little drama to win the April 10 game with Liberal, rallying from a 2-0 and 3-2 deficit and tying the game with only two minutes to play in regulation.

None of that was needed on Thursday, a dominating performance by Hays High from start to finish.

The Indians led 1-0 at halftime behind a goal by freshman Tressa Becker in the 28th minute and a mean defense that didn't give the Redskins many scoring opportunities all game.

"We did a great job playing those balls behind the defenders and getting runs on goal and shots on goal during the first half," Hernandez said. "The girls did a great job of following the instructions and it showed in the score line."

Hays High controlled the entire second half, rarely letting the ball cross the midfield line. Becker extended the lead with her second goal in the 26th minute of the second half, the goal coming off junior Brooke Russell's corner kick, assisted by freshman Talyn Kleweno.

Kleweno's goal in the 27th minute -- 76 seconds after Becker's second --  put the final touches on the shutout victory.

Hays High outshot Liberal 18-3 for the game.

"They are meshing well. All of them. Everyone that plays has been stepping up and doing a great job," Hernandez said. "They are finding ways to win and good teams find ways to win in difficult times. I don't know where they get it from, but they seem to persevere and get the win."

Hays High next will play at 4 p.m. Monday in Great Bend. The Indians beat the Panthers 2-0 on April 15 in Hays.