Hays High’s soccer team handled the physicality of Tuesday’s game with Junction City well, and when things got too physical, the Indians took advantage and left Bickle/Schmidt Sports Complex with a 5-0 win.
Midfielder Zachary Wagner provided all the scoring needed 15 minutes into the match, heading home a crossed ball from Ethan Nunnery.
After a rough start to the game, which included numerous penalties and a couple yellow cards, things got ugly late in the first half. Hays High freshman Jacob Maska pulled a Junction City defender down in a battle for the ball, which earned a yellow card. The Blue Jays defender took exception to the play and tackled Maska before throwing a punch, which sent him off the field with a red card.
Head coach Jim Maska was happy to see his team respond well to the more aggressive play while keeping its emotions in check.
“We needed to learn how to play a little physical too,” Maska said. “We did a good job of that.”
The Indians took a 1-0 lead into half and used the man advantage to add four more goals in the second half. The coach said he was pleased with his team’s play in the first half. The Indians connected quick passes and occasionally switched the field when presented the opportunity.
Maska wasn’t so happy with the team’s start of the second half. He said he thought the team played with the assumption that the second half would be a easy thanks to the advantage.
“It took us about six minutes, but once we got that goal, it seems like the intensity level picked back up and we got our focus,” Maska said.
Tradgon McCrae scored his first of two goals early in the half, before Wagner made a strong solo run through the Junction City defense and beat the keeper up and to the left.
Ethan Nunnery got a goal to go with his first-half assist, as he was the one heading in a well delivered ball in the 63rd minute to give the Indians’ a four-goal lead.
McCrae finished of the scoring a few minutes later, finishing off a chipped attempt by Maska that was headed off the end line. McCrae and Maska, both freshmen, played well atop the Indians’ formation with senior Isaiah Nunnery sidelined due to illness.
Connor Teget recorded the clean sheet in goal.
The Indians will host Liberal at 1 p.m. Thursday in their return to action.