Blues’ long road trip packs Hawaiian punch

Dave Becker

After going 1-1 in Hawaii the Lady Blues soccer team packed their bags and hit the road bound for Metro State in Denver Colo. The Lady Blues lost 1-0 to BYU-Hawaii and later beat Hawaii Pacific 2-1 with seniors Danielle Ayala and Manon Engelhardt turning in the goals.

“I felt like it was a good trip,” said senior Kaydi Hooker. “It was a good experience to play those teams before really getting into our conference schedule.”

But after their work had been put in, the team was offered up some free time to relax and take in the magic and mystery of Hawaii.

“We went to a traditional style Luau,” said Hooker. “It was really cool, a great cultural experience.”

On Friday, with only memories of Hawaii lingering, the Lady Blues played the Metro State Roadrunners. Even at the high altitude of Denver, the Lady Blues still felt comfortable in their surroundings said senior Jessica Mainz.

The Lady Blues battled hard in the thin mountain air against the 12th ranked Roadrunners resulting in a 1-1 tie after two overtimes. Goalkeeper Ashley Klone turned in a career-high 15 saves, the second most in a single match in Washburn history.

“It was a terrific battle on the part of our kids,” said coach Tim Collins. “To go into the middle of downtown Denver with all of its bells and whistles and put all of that aside and play it’s tough. But we scored on them early and we had a few more chances to do so.”

Sunday the Lady Blues dominated the Rangers of Regis University 1-0 with senior Jessica Mainz scoring the lone goal and Danielle Ayala contributing with an assist. Goalkeeper Ashley Klone provided the shutout.

“It was a fantastic display of power,” said Collins. “We’ve battled adversity with these two long road trips, overcome the stress of missing classes, overcome the altitude and put together our best game of the year thus far.”

With their travels the Lady Blues have missed a few classes, but being a student athlete doesn’t mean neglecting your studies in the name of sport.

“Our team stays on top of things academically,” said Collins.

Much of the team relishes the fact that teachers understand the long arduous journey that was set before them and have worked to help the team accomplishes its goals in the classroom.

“It’s hard missing a lot of class,” said Hooker. “But the teachers understand the situation and they work with us. It’ll be nice to come home and have a little break and play catch up.”

The road-warrior Lady Blues wrap up their non-conference campaign against Central Oklahoma Wednesday night in Wichita.