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HHS earns win at Buhler

By BRAD HALLIER

Special to The HDN

BUHLER -- When the choice came for the Hays High School boys soccer team to either go with or against the wind in the first half Thursday, coach Saul Hernandez wanted the strong wind at Hays High's backs.

Buhler coach Dustin Hildebrand was indifferent which half the Crusaders had the southerly breeze. His team actually played better in the first half when going against the wind, but Hays High too played well with the breeze, scoring a pair of first-half goals in winning 3-1 at Wheatland Park.

The appropriately-named Jordan Windholz scored both Hays first-half goals. The first came in the sixth minute, when a long-range shot zipped through the Buhler defense and by goalkeeper Colby Dinwiddie. The other came in the 15th minute, on a long pass that blew by the Buhler defense, and Windholz touched the ball into the goal.

"I told them to go with the wind in the first half," Hernandez said.

"I think it helps us to get a goal first, psychologically. And, the wind dies in the evening, so we wanted it when we could have it, but it didn't die this time."

Buhler's short passing style was effective against the wind in the first half. The Crusaders (3-5) earned six corner kicks before halftime but mustered only one shot on goal.

"With our offense, we try to keep short, quick passes," Hildebrand said. "To us, the wind wasn't a big deal."

Down 2-0 at halftime, the Crusaders thought they were in good shape.

A few creative passes, a hard shot with the wind, and the Hays lead would be axed in half.

But the next goal came from Hays, as Lane Clark rocketed a shot from 20 yards past Dinwiddie in the 55th minute.

"We, of course, are used to playing in the wind in Hays," Hernandez said. "We've been scoring going against the wind. I think we work well against the wind. I liked the second half better than the first half."

Buhler's offense couldn't get on track in the second half. While the Crusaders finished with nine corner kicks -- to zero for Hays High -- they struggled to maintain possession and get off good shots.

Buhler had 10 second-half shots, but only two were on goal.

"I don't think we came out prepared today," senior midfielder Mitchell Byers said. "Our passing wasn't up to our touch. It wasn't our worst performance, but it was our worst on our field."

Buhler managed a late goal when Byers' shot was knocked in the goal by a Hays High defender.