Haas makes the save

Cailey Haas makes a save against Weddington during the first round of the state 3-A playoffs. Haas was given the Hall of Fame Award, which is awarded to the top female athlete at Watauga.

BOONE — Cailey Haas has been fortunate to be a part of some good sports teams at Watauga High. In fact, it can be said that Haas had made some big contributions to the teams she’s played.

Haas, a three-year varsity player for the Watauga girls’ basketball team and the Watauga girls’ soccer team, was given the Hall of Fame Award at the Senior Awards Ceremony June 4 at Watauga High School. The award is given to the top female athlete at the school.

“It was super rewarding,” Haas said. “I was super thankful for all the great coaches I’ve had and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Haas was the Pioneers’ goalkeeper the past three seasons. The Pioneers reached the third round of the state 3-A playoffs in 2019 with a 17-5 record overall and a 13-1 Northwestern Conference mark, which was good enough for a tie with Hickory for the NWC mark.

Haas, who was named All-NWC, made 47 saves and allowed just 10 goals in 18 games. That included a save on a penalty kick.

“I’ve played keeper for a long time,” Haas said. “I played it in travel and I definitely liked it when I got to play on the field, but I started playing keeper and kept playing.”

Haas also had to overcome the heavy turnover with playing for three varsity soccer coaches in her four coaches at Watauga in four seasons. Woody McKay was the head varsity coach in Haas’ freshman year when she was on the junior varsity. He was followed by Kat Wallace in Haas’ sophomore season in 2017, which was Haas’ first on the varsity. Gody Zayobi was the Pioneers’ coach in 2018 followed by Chris Tarnowski in 2019.

Despite the turnover, Watauga never had a losing record during that stretch.

“It was really hard, especially since we were a good team and we had so much (talent),” Haas said “It’s just hard switching it up each year. I think consistency was a big thing. Kat Wallace was such a good coach and she had coached us before in travel. She knew us as players and people and she played a big role in developing us.”

Haas remembered Watauga’s 1-0 win over visiting Weddington in the first round of the 2019 3-A playoffs at Jack Groce Stadium as a highlight of her tenure with the Pioneers. Weddington was the 20th seed in the playoffs, while Watauga was 13th, but Weddington played in one of the top conferences in 3-A. Haas made two spectacular saves to help preserve the win against the Warriors.

“That was a pretty good game for me,” Haas said.

Before Haas got to the soccer season, she had to finish playing basketball first. Playing point guard, Haas helped Watauga to a 17-11 season and a berth in the state 3-A playoffs in 2019.

She was third on the team in scoring with 10.2 points per game and 2.1 assists per game. Haas also averaged 2.9 steals, 2.5 rebounds per game and shot 43 percent from the field.

Haas also found success in her junior season, when the Pioneers won the NWC regular-season championship with a 13-1 record. Watauga finished 22-5 overall and beat NWC annual powers Hickory three times and McDowell twice. Haas also was named the Most Valuable Player of the Colvard Oil Holiday Classic played at Ashe County.

Haas said it was somewhat difficult to convert from basketball to soccer, but it didn’t have anything to do with conditioning.

“Especially this past year it was super hard because I loved basketball this year,” Haas said. “Knowing that you don’t have another year, it’s really hard.”

Haas said there wasn’t any particular moment to remember.

“Every moment of basketball was awesome,” she said. “Even sophomore year, being on the team made it great. The teams were always really good.”

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