It was as intense as any national tournament playoff game.
Instead, it was for the unofficial title of the city’s top college soccer program as McPherson College’s men broke a scoreless halftime tie with two goals and held on for a 2-1 victory over crosstown rival Central Christian College Wednesday on the Tigers’ home pitch.
“(Central) Coach (Aaron) Hoxie certainly did a great job preparing his team to play," McPherson College coach Doug Quint said. "We got everything from them tonight. Our team had some good moments and created some nice chances. Our composure just needs to improve."
Greg Roller broke the ice for Mac after 54 scoreless minutes.
Morgan Quintana improved the Bulldogs’ lead to 2-0, but Central wouldn’t go away as Gabriel Flores scored on a PK as the game became a physical affair after the halftime break.
“It is tough to keep saying this, but it is entirely true, that we keep putting together solid, gritty performances, but are unlucky to not take points from games," Hoxie said. "Today, two teams slugged it out and for the first time in a long time, we got beat by a good goal. They earned their second goal through quality play and it was well deserved. I was real proud of the guys because they continued to battle at 0-2, knowing that it should have been 1-2, and we got a deserved PK for the effort. In the end, it was a fair result. One that might have gone either way, certainly a draw could have been seen. It was a good NAIA collegiate rivalry slugfest. We have closed the gap."
Aaron Parrott came up with five saves to earn the win in goal for the Bulldogs, who are now 3-5 on the year. They host Kansas Wesleyan at 3 p.m. Saturday in the renewal of the best rivalry in the KCAC as the teams have gone toe-to-toe in recent years for conference supremacy. Mac outlasted KW for the conference title last year.
Central, now 3-7, hosts Grace University at 8 p.m. as it closes out a busy day of homecoming activities at the college.