Hays High soccer picking up steam

Rick Peterson Jr.
Hays Daily News
Hays High's Madelyn Martin watches the ball go into the net for a goal on Monday against Junction City.
Hays High coach Tyler Rueschhoff directs the HHS soccer team on Monday against Junction City.
Hays High's Kamree Leiker plays the ball forward on Monday against Junction City.

By the time the Hays High girls soccer team wrapped up its three-game stay at the McPherson Invitational a couple weeks ago, first-year HHS soccer coach Tyler Rueschhoff could sense that the team was starting to click. 

"In McPherson, we found ourselves," Rueschhoff said. "We figured out how good we actually are. We figured out how we need to move the ball."

After going 1-2 in McPherson, the Indians then notched a solid 2-0 win in their WAC opener at Dodge City. 

"I think that lit a fire under everybody and we've been riding it since," Rueschhoff said. 

The Indians kept the strong play going for Monday's home opener, picking up their third straight win with a 3-0 victory over Junction City to move to 4-2 on the season. 

"We switched the ball. We found depth in the field very well," Rueschhoff said. "We possessed the ball 90 percent of the game, and that's what you want in soccer. I mean, if they can't touch the ball, they're never going to score, and that's kind of what happened today."

The Indians did all their scoring damage in a four-minute stretch in the first half. 

First, Madelyn Martin tracked down a loose ball on the right side after a free kick and beat the Junction City keeper to put Hays on the board in the 16th minute. Allison Shubert picked up the assist.

Three minutes and 10 seconds later, Caroline Robben made it 2-0 after taking it in from the left side. And 44 seconds after that, Shubert found the back of the net off a Robben assist. 

"When we were being successful, it was when we were dropping and switching and moving the ball in general," Rueschhoff said. "Then I think we just kind of wanted to go score and we were playing very direct, straight forward and we stopped finding good situations to be in, good places to be in. 

"When (the goals were) happening, it was great. It's exactly what we practice. Now, it's just doing it the full game."

The Indians couldn't capitalize on several scoring opportunities in the second half, but they also limited the Bluejays' opportunities by controlling possession. 

"That's all I ask of them, to defend first and then try to find the goal," Rueschhoff said. "We capitalized on a lot of things today. Now it's just about getting it in the back of the net."

Rueschhoff said the Indians have several scoring threats at their disposal. 

"A lot of these teams we're playing, they have like one person that scores all of their goals, or maybe two people," Rueschhoff said. "We have four girls with at least two goals. We have multiple people that can find the back of the net, and it's scary, I think, for other teams."

After five straight games on the road to open the season, Rueschhoff said the Indians were happy to make their home debut. 

"It's nice to have a home crowd," Rueschhoff said. "It's nice to be on grass again; we've had every game on turf so far. But I think practicing here with our field, we really get a good advantage."

Rueschhoff, a former TMP-Marian product who recently served as an assistant coach for the Monarchs, said he's throughly enjoying his first season with the Indians. 

"These girls are the hardest working group of players I think I've ever had," he said. "I think we're going to have a successful season."

"My expectation is that we don't start getting content, that we keep pushing ourselves and progressing," he added.