The Hays High soccer team dropped a hard-fought battle against Salina Central on Thursday, with the Mustangs scoring the golden goal in the second overtime to outlast Hays 2-1 at HHS.
Hays High coach Silas Hibbs, noting that the Indians were without two key players in Adrian Salas and Blake Steiben, was proud of the fight his team showed.
The Indians were set to get another opportunity to notch their first win on Saturday, facing Wichita Warriors Homeschool at home.
"I think you saw the boys on the field battling every minute of the game. It was a really physical game," Hibbs said after Thursday’s match. "Our boys didn’t back down at all, which I was super proud of. It was a fight.
"We played three games now, and we’re almost over the hump. We’ve made progress each practice, each game, and I’m excited come this Saturday to try and get that first win. I know the boys are hungry for it."
Central went down a player after a red card early in the second overtime but still notched the golden goal when Sergio De La Torre scored after being fed the ball on the doorstep.
"The series that led to the goal, I thought, was a little bit of an unfortunate situation, with (Brandon) Musil kind of getting plowed in the back, but that’s going to happen," Hibbs said. "I thought we put our boys in a position to win and I know they were reaching for it to take it. We’re close. We’ll snatch it next time."
The Indians struck first when Diego Muller beat a Salina Central defender around the corner and scored about 10 minutes into the game on an assist from Brantlee Staab.
"We got on the board first, which was awesome," Hibbs said. "We actually had a couple of other opportunities to get on the board (again) shortly threreafter. They have a pretty good keeper."
The Mustangs had a quick answer when Nolan Foley sent a short free kick over a wall of Indian defenders and into the net with 25:13 left in the half.
HHS goalkeeper Alecxis Cano made a few saves down the stretch of regulation to keep it tied, and HHS also created a few chances but were kept at bay.
Hibbs said he could sense the disappointment in the Indians’ huddle after the game, which he took as a positive sign for his young team.
"That shows me that they care," Hibbs said. "That shows me in their heart that they want it. ... I’d be concerned if they were bickering with each other or blaming each other, but it was pretty somber over there. You could tell all of them wanted it really badly. It stung. And I know for a fact they’re going to bounce back and use that feeling for fuel to come back ready on Saturday."
Check hdnews.net and Tuesday’s print edition for coverage on Saturday’s game.
SALINA CENTRAL 2, HAYS 1 (2 OTs)
Salina Central - Goals: Foley, De La Torre.
Hays - Goal: Muller. Assist: Staab.