The Griffon soccer team looks to bounce back against the Fort Hays State Tigers on Friday, Oct. 18, at 7 p.m..
Craig Shaw is in his third year as head coach for the Tigers. Last season, Shaw led the Tigers to a 14-7-1 record, an MIAA championship, and the program’s first appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Shaw has coached nine players to All-MIAA honors and one player to All-Region honors.
Before coming to Fort Hays, Shaw coached at Ottawa University in Kansas. Ottawa had five NAIA All-Americans and 19 All-Conference performers under Shaw. He has also coached the KCAC Freshman of the Year for three years, KCAC Goalkeeper of the Year in 2008, and KCAC Defensive Player of the Year in 2009.
Fort Hays, with a 4-6-2 record and a 3-2 MIAA record, will not be an easy opponent for Western.
“Hays is a very solid team, because they’re very physical and they play fast. We tied with them last year and they came and beat us my first year of coaching,” head coach Chad Edwards said. “It’ll take our best effort to get a win against them,”
Fort Hays may be a tough team, but the Griffons are prepared to win.
“Fort Hays is always good. They’re a good team for us to play and if we want to win, we have to bring our A-game,” defender Sydney Andrews said.
The Griffons have hit a bump in the road this season, as they have struggled to stay consistent.
“We’ve had a lot of injuries this season, and upsets,” midfielder Bailey Dervin said. “But a lot of players are coming back and it’s going to help a lot.”
Western has a record of 2-9-1.
“We got off to a really good start with 2-2 [record] and broke a couple of school records with shots. We were playing really well until the injuries hit us hard; there’s not a lot of teams that lose two players in three weeks time,” Edwards said. “It’s not that we don’t have good enough players, it’s just that we don’t have that consistency.”
They are also struggling with conference games, with an 0-5 record in MIAA play.
“The conference is always difficult, and that’s why I love coaching in this conference. Every game is a challenge and there are no easy games. We played good teams, but we haven’t been at our best and we’ve battled hard,” Edwards said.
Despite how difficult the conference is, the team is still ready to play their best and claim a victory.
“The conference is always tough and it’s never easy. We had a couple of tough losses, but I’m really happy with our team. We have a lot of potential, and hopefully, we can turn around and win some games,” Andrews said.
With only six games left this season, they hope to turn their losing streak into a winning one.
“We are put into a really good conference, one of the top in the division, and it’s been all over the place this season. We’ve played teams that usually win everything, and it’s always going to be tough,” midfielder Teddi Serna said. “We go into every game expecting every team to be good and we have to perform our best to get wins.”