While Hiland ended a pair of streaks they were glad to get rid on Tuesday, August 30 at Hiland High School, the real story may have been the Lady Hawks’ defense, which clamped down and held Waynedale scoreless in a 2-0 victory.
The Lady Haws (1-3) finally fond the back of the net after having played their first three games without a goal. That ended at 23:02 in the first half when junior Sierra Yoder got tripped up in the box, forcing a penalty kick that she sent sailing past bears’ keeper Tori Stanley, bringing an excruciating wait for the Lady Hawks to find pay dirt.
“Hey, we got two goals,” said Hiland coach Jeremy Kauffman. “It’s nice to finally break through, but more importantly, I thought our kids really responded to our challenge to play with more passion and aggressiveness. At the end of the day, we wanted to feel good abut how hard we played. We wanted to make a statement that we aren’t as bad as 0-3 looks. We were staring at 0-4 if we had lost, and the girls showed guts.”
Waynedale coach Kelly Troyer said she felt she got a good effort out of her team as well, especially in the second half when they pushed the envelope and created a lot of scoring opportunities.
“We did some good things tonight, and had a really good offensive push, we just couldn’t quite connect on some of those awesome crosses,” said Troyer. “A couple of times we had really great scoring chances on nice crosses right in front of the goal but we just didn’t finish them.”
That score held up throughout the first half, although Waynedale (1-1) was starting to attack the net aggressively on offense near the end of the half.
That turn continued throughout the second half, as the Golden Bears pushed hard to score. However, it would be Hiland that would find success, as Anna Kaufman sent one in for a 2-0 Lady Hawks lead.
Even as Waynedale pushed forward to create offense, Hiland’s defense was up to the task of maintaining that 2-0 lead.
Kauffman credited his midfield duo of Courtney Mullet and Madeline Kauffman for being able to maintain possession of the middle of the field.
“They had one girl (Nelson) who was really fast and posed some problems for us,” said Kauffman. “But I thought we did a good job of keeping her outside. I felt we played very tight in the back and locked them out, and I thought Courtney and Madeline did a nice job of controlling the middle of the playing field and distributing the ball. We gave our forwards some opportunities, and when we can control the middle of the field, that is where we are going to be most effective.”
As time began to become a factor for the Golden Bears, they got what seemed to be a shot in the arm when Stacie Nelson’s booming direct kick from about 30 yards out hit Hiland keeper Lexi Miller hard, and caromed off to a Waynedale player, who passed it forward toward the net, where it was hammered home for an apparent goal.
However, the side judge immediately raised his flag to denote the player was offside when the pass reached her, disallowing the goal.
“That was a big turning point for us, because it would have gotten us right back in it with about 10 minutes to play, and you never know what might have happened,” said Troyer. “It felt like we deserved that one, and you hate to have one taken away at a time like that. It could have been a game-changer.”
But it was not to be, and the Golden Bears never could find the back of the net.
Troyer said Nelson played a great all-around game, noting that her pressure and athleticism kept pressure on Hiland all night.
But Hiland keeper Lexi Miller proved to be up to the challenge of shutting down any and all challenges, and in doing so produced the lady Hawks first win of the season.