By KLINT SPILLER
Special to The Telegram
HAYS — Hays High School's soccer field is a rough place to play. The patchy grass field is like nothing Garden City has seen this season.
The Buffaloes spend most, if not all, of their time on turf fields, so when they stepped onto HHS Field on Monday, it took some getting used to, said Garden City senior Haley Brennaman.
The hard surface can be unforgiving, and patches of grass can make balls careen off course.
"Even just to pass, you don't know where the ball is going to go, because the grass can take it a different direction," Brennaman said.
With the different type of field and a squad hobbled with sickness and injuries, Brennaman said Garden City didn't bring its 'A' game in its 1-0 loss to Hays High, the defending Western Athletic Conference champion.
"We definitely didn't play our best," Brennaman said. "We could do better, but we still have another game (against Hays)."
Hays High (6-2, 3-0 WAC) dominated the possession for much of the game, and the Indians' defense squelched any attempt by the Buffaloes to create a spark on offense.
Garden City (3-4, 1-1 WAC) finished with just five shots in the match, only four on goal and even fewer of any real threat to Hays High freshman goalkeeper Brittany Dinkel, who was filling in for starter Laura Truman.
"We didn't get the shots that we wanted, and the ones we had, we missed them," said Garden City head coach Joaquin Padilla.
Brennaman finished with three of her squad's five shots — two on goal.
The Indians posted eight shots in the match — five on goal.
Hays High pulled ahead in the 24th minute when Garden City's defender left Hays High's single-season scoring record holder, Taylor Herman, open near the top of the box.
Herman took advantage of the extra space and fired a shot that bounced off the top of the crossbar over the outstretched hands of freshman goalkeeper Ashlee Richman and into the goal.
The Buffaloes' roster was definitely thinned. Padilla said he only had about three healthy girls available on his bench in the second half.
"We played with what we had," Padilla said. "Unfortunately, we didn't score."
Hays High 1, Garden City 0
Garden City 0 0 -- 0
Hays 1 0 -- 1
Hays High — Herman, 24th minute.
Goalkeepers — Richman, Garden City; B. Dinkel, Hays High. Saves — Richman 4, B. Dinkel 4.