On Tuesday, Oct. 9 at Hiland High School, Kendra Shetler was the loneliest person on the Hiland campus.
As the Lady Hawks’ keeper in their game versus St. Thomas Aquinas, Shetler may as well have pulled up a chair and watched the action with the rest of the fans. The Lady Hawks didn’t allow Aquinas to get off even one shot, and Shetler was a forgotten figure in Hiland’s 8-0 victory.
The big win was just what the doctor ordered for the Lady Hawks, who had dropped three straight in a somewhat dubious fashion. After giving up one goal through the first 10 games, Hiland had lost three straight and given up 12 goals in the process.
Head coach Conner Lee said the win came at the right time for a team that needed to get back in its winning ways.
“This is what we needed to kick-start us gain,” Lee said. “We needed something that gave us back some confidence. It was good to see us playing well and moving the ball like we did, but the biggest thing is that we got back to winning.”
The Lady Hawks scored early and often, building a quick 4-0 lead through the game’s first 20 minutes. Mia Gertz’s corner kick went into a pile of players in front of the mouth of the goal in the 10th minute, and Taryn Schlabach poked it in for the early lead. Three minutes later Schlabach returned the favor, finding Gabby Schlabach, who punched in a goal for a 2-0 advantage.
Melody Murtaugh then collected a pair of assists, the first to Whitney Conn, who smacked home her first career varsity goal, and the second one to Greta Mast, who connected on a goal in the19th minute on a bounding ball to move the lead to 4-0.
Lexi Raber then became the lone Lady Hawk to score twice on the night when she scored on back-to-back goals in minutes 29 and 37, both of them coming on assists from Shana Miller.
The half ended with Hiland leading 6-0, and while the defense remained stalwart in the second half, Lee wanted his team to continue to work their passing game and create shots by sticking with their game plan of attacking with crisp passing.
“I told the girls at the half that we needed to continue to play our game and work on our movement and our passing and not get greedy and try just dribbling through people for shots,” Lee said.
It paid dividends in the 62nd minute when Shana Miller fed Abby Beach, who is normally a keeper but has played some offense this season. Beach cranked home her second goal of the year for a 7-0 lead. Kate Bodiker then fed Braylie Coil in the 74th minute to round out the Hiland attack.
That whole time Shetler waited and watched as her teammates had all the fun, leaving her with nothing to do but be spectator.
For Lee, seeing his team divvy out the goals also was an enjoyable part of the win.
“Lexi was the only one to have more than one goal, so that was sweet to get that many girls scoring,” Lee said. “We are at our best when we are moving it around and getting everyone involved.”
The Lady Hawks, who received the number-two seed in the Div. III East sectional/district tournament, improved to 10-4 on the year and outshot Aquinas 23-0 in the game.