After playing 100 minutes of scoreless soccer against Liberal a couple weeks ago, Hays High was about 10 minutes away from settling for another 0-0 tie against the Redskins.
Kallie Leiker made sure that didn’t happen.
The Indians struggled to capitalize on several opportunities throughout the match, but Leiker ended the frustration with a goal in the second overtime to lift Hays to a 1-0 win over Liberal on Thursday at Hays High Field.
“Once I took a touch, I knew it was the time to strike the shot,” Leiker said. “Going into double overtime, we just needed to keep hitting shots.”
The Indians put constant pressure on Liberal but couldn’t take advantage until the 90th minute, missing shots high and wide.
“They probably stayed a lot more poised than I did,” Hays coach Silas Hibbs said of his players. “It’s annoying for everybody when you’re just one touch away from putting one in the back of the net. But you just kind of got to grind it out and they did that today, which was awesome to see.”
Leiker fired in a shot from about 25 yards out for the golden goal 52 seconds into the second extra session, helping the Indians improve to 7-2-1 overall and 4-0-1 in the Western Athletic Conference.
“Kallie’s a phenomenal player, and I had a hunch that the winning goal might come from her,” Hibbs said. “I think it’s great for her confidence. I think it’s great for our team. It’s really awesome to see her get the game-winner today.”
Leiker said the near misses were starting to take a toll on the Indians.
“It was definitely frustrating, but our team just stuck with it,” she said. “It was also a very physical game. We worked as a team and we knew we could pull it off in the end.
“It’s a good sign, especially for the future because we’re still a young team. Just knowing that we can overcome this in double overtime is just a great feeling.”
Liberal (3-6-1) struggled to create quality scoring chances, with Hays holding a major advantage in possession.
“We always work to keep possession, that’s kind of the style of play we have,” Leiker said. “Switching the ball, I think we did a good job of that, and our defense really stayed strong throughout the whole game. It was a struggle to put it in the back of the net but we finally got there.”
Isabel Robben earned the shutout in goal for the Indians, who are 6-0-1 over their last seven games.
“This was big because it was one of those close games where you kind of got to grind," Hibbs said. "They outworked them at the end, which is encouraging as a coach. Couldn’t be more pleased with the result.”