The Hays High soccer team has hit a rough patch, but Indians’ coach Silas Hibbs would rather it happen now than late in the season.

The Indians were shut out for the second straight game, surrendering three second-half goals in a 3-0 loss to Great Bend on Monday at HHS Field.

Hibbs is hoping the loss can serve as motivation for the Indians, who dropped to 3-3 on the season.

“Sometimes in soccer, you have to move the ball backwards to go forward,” Hibbs said. “These last couple games we’ve taken a couple steps backward. However, I’m confident the boys will be able to take the step forward in the next few games.”

Hays High played without senior standout Trae McCrae, who was injured during the Wichita South Tournament last week.

“Trae’s a phenomenal player, but it’s about the best team that takes the field,” Hibbs said. “There’s really no excuses, the fact of the matter is we didn’t play well as a team.”

Great Bend came up empty on several quality chances in the first half as the Indians fought to keep the game scoreless.

“We had a lineup with some guys that put a little bit of a pressure up front,” Hibbs said. “They still had a lot attempts. We just weren’t gelling as a team today and it was evident. That starts with the coaching staff on down so I take responsibility for that.”

Dani Franco put the Panthers on the board two minutes and 30 seconds into the second half and scored again about nine minutes later. Oscar Martinez then delivered the final of the goal of the match with just under seven minutes remaining.

Hibbs said the Indians were able to glean a few positives from the match.

“I think Blake Steiben and Alexciz Cano played solid games and stepped up for us today,” Hibbs said. “What I hope we take from the game — sometimes it takes a little bit of a rough patch to grow as a team. I really hope that they use this as fuel for their fire to grow.”

Seth Shorb and Connor Olson split time in goal for the Indians.

Hibbs said he wasn’t sure of the timetable for McCrae’s return from his injury.

Hays will play host to Dodge City on Thursday.