A 1-0 loss to New Philadelphia earlier this week dropped the Lady Hawks below the .500 mark for the season at 4-5-2. It didn’t take long for Hiland to climb right back on the horse and find their winning ways again.
A first half goal form Sarah Menuez and then a late goal in the second half from Brandi Raber pushed Hiland’s record right back to .500 with a 2-0 win over Waynedale on October 1 in Applecreek.
Menuez’s goal came 15 minutes into the match and helped the Hawks to a halftime 1-0 lead. With 6:27 left in the second half, the Lady Hawks broke through again when a Menuez shot got through Waynedale’s goalkeeper Bree Chenevey that Raber gobbled up and finished off for an insurance goal.
Hiland (5-5-2) didn’t necessarily need the extra goal from Raber because Waynedale never sniffed Beth Boyles’ goal area in the second half thanks to a stellar defensive effort by the Lady Hawks.
Boyles made four pedestrian saves in goal for the Hawks, and did a lot of watching as her Lady Hawks attacked the Waynedale end of the field most of the night. That equaled a goose egg on the Waynedale side of the scoreboard, something Hiland coach Jeremy Kaufman was pleased to see.
“We gave up 57 goals last year as a team,” said Hiland’s first-year coach, Kauffman. “That’s not very good. I think we’re at 17 now for the year that we have given up. We play a couple of really good teams at the end of the season, but if we stick with our average we’re going to give up 25 or 26 goals which is less than half of what we gave up last year.”
It’s simple, when you don’t give up as many goals you’re going to have better chances of racking up wins. Kauffman and the Lady Hawks are finding that out and are pleased with the rebound win to get back to the .500 mark.
“It’s good to get back to .500,” said Kauffman. “We were at .500 the other night and had a tough loss to New Philly 1-0. We’ve now won more games this year than all of last year. We’re getting better. The girls have great attitudes and they’ve been working really hard at it.”
The win over the Golden Bears was a sign that Hiland is starting to learn what it feels like to win a game they’re suppose to.
“Going into this game, looking at how we have been playing, I thought this was a winable game,” Kaufman continued. “If your goal is to get to .500, you certainly don’t want to go two games under .500. You’d rather get back to .500.”
Hiland’s defense, made up of Lindsey Yoder, Megan Beechy, Emma Yoder and Michaela Kandel were solid and got praise from someone they’re pretty familiar with.
“Their defensive line did really well today,” said Waynedale head coach Kelly Troyer. “I want to give them a lot of credit because we usually get through a couple more times than that.”
Troyer, a 2009 graduate of Waynedale, was on the Hawks’ bench last season as an assistant coach and wasn’t surprised by how much better the Lady Hawks have become. She is the fourth Waynedale girls soccer head coach in as many years.
“I liked playing against them because I got to see how the Hiland girls have improved since last year,” said Troyer. “I was actually on the losing end last season too when Waynedale beat Hiland.”
Beth Boyles collected just three saves in goal for the Hawks as the Waynedale’s trips to her area were few and far between.
“It’s been the trend for us,” said Troyer about not getting enough attack time. “We have some skillful players, but we just can’t seem to get possessions together. We need to string some passes together instead of just getting breakaways on offense.”
Hiland out-shot Waynedale 12 to four and had three corner kicks to the Waynedale’s zero. Chenevey finished with six saves for the Golden Bears. Waynedale is now 1-8-3 on the season.