Kaiser leads HHS soccer on all-state team
By AUSTIN COLBERT
By AUSTIN COLBERT
There were many doubts about the Hays High School girls' soccer team entering the 2014 season after it lost four first team All-Western Athletic Conference players from a 15-3-1 squad. But among the returners was senior Reagan Kaiser, the reigning WAC player of the year, and one of the state's best defenders.
Even with a relatively young team in front of her and a new coach at the helm, Kaiser guided the Indians to a 13-4-1 record and trip to the regional championship game, a 2-1 overtime loss to Goddard-Eisenhower.
Her play also resulted in a second straight WAC player of the year honor and recently she was named first team all-state in Class 5A by the coaches. Kaiser is the first Hays High defender in school history to collect first team all-state honors.
"It was extremely shocking to me. I feel very honored and blessed that I was chosen by the coaches and that they see the ability and the love I have for the game," said Kaiser, who was second team all-state as a junior. "We had an amazing year. We weren't really sure what to expect. We had a new coach. We had a bunch of younger girls coming in. We had a lot of spots to fill and I think we did an amazing job with that."
Kaiser wasn't alone on the all-state teams, either, as fellow senior Lacey Pfannenstiel and freshman Talyn Kleweno were both named to the second team offense for Hays High.
Pfannenstiel, a Bethel College soccer signee, and Kaiser were also selected to play for the West squad in Saturday's Kansas Soccer Coaches Association All-Star Game, held at Wichita's Stryker Soccer Complex.
Kleweno was one of a handful of freshmen, predominantly on offense, that were key in replacing last year's all-WAC players, particularly 2013 leading scorer Taylor Herman.
"It took a lot of pressure off me. We had some great talent. Those girls came in this year and I knew from the get-go that they had so much talent," Kaiser said of the freshmen. "It was just whether or not we could put everything together and they did a great job, they worked hard and no one was ever selfish. It was always a team goal. It was never just that one person. It was really great."
Prior to the spring season, Kaiser signed to play soccer with NCAA Division II Rockhurst University, located in Kansas City, Mo., where she was also pre-admitted to the school's doctorate program in physical therapy. She will report to the team on Aug. 14, and until then has been doing workouts on her own, assigned by the Rockhurst coaching staff, and occasionally playing club soccer.
Kaiser doesn't know if she will continue to play defense or possibly move to forward at Rockhurst, a position she has found success at in the limited time she had the opportunity to play it. Either way, she will leave the decision up to the Rockhurst coaches and just looks forward to continuing her soccer career.
"I don't really care where I am on the field," Kaiser said. "Just the fact that I love the game and there is no way I could be done. My heart is in the game and just knowing that I get to go on and continue playing and doing what I love is what I'm most excited about."