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HHS soccer starts with Great Bend

By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

It doesn't matter who a team faces in the playoffs. You have to be mentally prepared, because crazy things happen at this point of the season.

That was the message Hays High School girls' soccer coach Chris Michaelis said he wanted to deliver to his players on the eve of their opener in the Class 5A regional tournament.

Michaelis compared the Indians' single-elimination qualifying tournament to that of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. Every year, upsets happen. The Florida Gulf Coasts of the world knock off the Georgetowns sometimes.

"There's always a higher seed that gets beat by a lower seed," Michaelis said. "With a one-and-done deal, you have to be ready to play."

Hays High (13-2-1) is one of the favorites to reach the quarterfinals. The Indians earned the No. 2 seed in the region and will have to win two matches to make it there.

Hays High will face Great Bend (1-15) at 4 p.m. today at HHS Field in its first-round match.

If the Indians win, they will meet the winner of Goddard (8-8) and Goddard-Eisenhower (8-5-3) on Thursday in Hays.

Hays High had little trouble with Great Bend in their first two matches, defeating the Panthers 4-0 in back-to-back games April 19 and April 22.

"They've got a couple good girls upfront," Michaelis said. "(Kenzie Sinclair) and Summer Bates are two pretty good girls in particular. If we have mental lapses, they can make us pay."

Weather also could be challenge. Though it's not unusual to see the temperature push 100 in past seasons, Hays High hasn't experienced it much this season. It's been unseasonably cold this spring, but today, the high temperature is forecasted at 95 degrees.

"We are not used to this hot weather," Michaelis said. "It seems like we went from 30 degrees and a wind chill of 20, and now we are hitting the 100 mark. But good teams battle through that."

Michaelis said it will make him tweak his strategy from a coaching standpoint to make sure players don't overheat.

"We've got to make sure the girls stay hydrated," he said.

Hays High has had a tremendous regular season, posting its best regular season record in school history. The Indians broke the regular season record for goals allowed in a season and have outscored their opponents 41 to 9.

It all led up to this.

"It's that time of year," Michaelis said. "I'm excited, and hopefully the girls are excited as well. You play all season long to get yourselves in the playoffs."