Hays High soccer downs McPherson
By KLINT SPILLER
Back-to-back games in back-to-back days. If it affected Hays High School's girls' soccer team, it was difficult to tell.
The Indians cranked out a mechanical 2-0 victory against McPherson on Tuesday at HHS Field, just a day after clinching the Western Athletic Conference championship with a 2-0 win at Garden City.
"The girls were troupers today," said Hays High coach Chris Michaelis. "They battled through a tough game yesterday and then another tough game today, but if you're going to be good and compete at the top level, you're going to have to do those things and mentally block the soreness, the tiredness and all that out and just play through that."
Hays High (12-2) had a masterful first half, controlled the ball and forced scoring opportunities early.
The Indians had nine shots on goal in the first half compared to McPherson's one. Through that effort, Hays High was able to take a 2-0 halftime lead and cruised to the "W."
McPherson dropped to 5-6-1.
Getting these non-league wins are important to Hays High, said senior midfielder Lacey Pfannenstiel. The Indians are one of the favorites to earn a top seed in the regional tournament, and every game counts towards seeding.
"We really needed a (high) seed in regionals, because we have a lot of tough competition behind us," Pfannenstiel said.
Senior Megan Bird got the ball rolling for the Indians.
In the 26th minute, she attacked from the right of goal and managed to get past the diving goalkeeper, but she tripped and was unable to kick it in the back of the net. The ball slowed as it rolled toward the goal, and McPherson's defenders, attempting to clear it, accidentally deflected it into the goal.
It went into the scorebook as an own goal, but Bird's pressure was what forced it.
"That's one of the things that we've really done a much better job of in the last few games, putting pressure on the other team and making those runs," Michaelis said. "... If she thought, 'Well, there's no way I'm going to get there, so why even try?' Then we don't end up with that goal."
"That (effort) is the difference between winning and losing," Michaelis added.
Pfannenstiel scored the second goal 10 minutes later.
After two corner kicks, senior April Johnson's teammates noticed Johnson was crossing the ball a little high to the point it sailed past the goal. As a result, on the team's third corner kick, senior sweeper Reagan Kaiser told Pfannenstiel, who was on the back post, to back up.
Pfannenstiel did, and she saw the cross come in, found the ball with her foot and sent it into the back of the net.
Pfannenstiel said when she did that, she actually was going against what her coaches normally tell her to do. However, she said her coaches weren't upset about the result, though.
"When you have back post, you're supposed to stay on back post," she said. "Coach says it's your boyfriend all season, but April kept kicking it over so Reagan told me to go adjust a little bit so I went further back and that's how I got it."
The Indians have been difficult to stop on soccer fields the last two years.
Hays High had its best season in school history last year, going 16-5 and finishing fourth in Class 5A, but this season, the squad is actually ahead of last year's pace.
After 14 matches in 2012, the Indians were 13-3, scored 40 goals and allowed 14. In 2013, Hays High has just two losses, and the Indians have scored 37 goals and have allowed a miniscule seven goals.
"It's crazy how it's all come about," Pfannenstiel said. "We just try to take it one game at a time."
Hays High 2, McPherson 0
McPherson (5-6-1) 0 0 — 0
Hays High (12-2) 2 0 — 0
Hays High — Own goal, 26th minute.
Hays High — Pfannenstiel, 36th minute (Johnson).
Saves — White 10, McPherson; Truman 3, Hays High.