After losing to Dodge City 10-0 in 70 minutes of play Tuesday, the Hays High School soccer team might need some work on the field, but the Indians’ mental preparation is most concerning to coach Jim Maska.
The coach heard that some his players were doubting the Indians’ chances of beating a skilled Demons squad before the opening kickoff.
“We gotta come out thinking we can win every game if we work together as a team,” Maska said. “I think that was the most disappointing thing in the whole game.”
The coach noted a handful of players who put forth quality efforts, but as a whole it was a fruitless effort from the Indians.
“This is a game we gotta just forget,” Maska said. “We gotta come to practice tomorrow and get ready for Great Bend after a heartbreaking loss in overtime to them.”
Dodge City hung eight goals on the Indians in the first half, scoring six of those goals in the final 26 minutes of the half. The Demons routinely used linked quick passes and sharp runs through the midfield and found themselves running at goal with only the keeper to beat or at the back post, needing a simple touch to redirect the ball into an open goal.
The weight doesn’t fall solely on the back four, which featured three freshmen and a reserve goalie.
“Our outside mids aren’t getting back like they’re supposed to,” Maska said. “Our center mids weren’t dropping to the 18. Against a team like this, you can’t play high.”
Rafael Yeverino and Joshua DonJuan completed hat tricks for Dodge City in the second half and brought the game to an end.
Senior Isaiah Nunnery provided some of the few bright moments for the Indians. Nunnery, who is playing for the first time since elementary school, recently was moved from central defender to an attacking role as a striker. His combination of size and speed put him in positions to score although he ultimately came up short.
The Indians could use a goal from their new forward when they return to action Tuesday, hosting Great Bend. The Panthers used a late goal in extra time to beat Hays High in their previous matchup, but Maska saw some things worth remembering in that game.
“I’m still looking for that game where we play 80 minutes,” the coach said. “At Great Bend, we played 40 solid minutes (in) the second half.”