SALINA — McPherson High’s girls soccer team needed most of the 80 minutes on Tuesday to prevail in its season opener against Salina South.
Aislinn Hughes’ goal in the 79th minute, off an assist by Jessie Kynaston, broke a 2-all tie and gave the second-ranked Bullpups a pulsating 3-2 victory.
“With 2 minutes left in the game, Salina South had a corner kick which we cleared out and Aislinn Hughes went on about a 60-yard run with the ball against the wind,” MHS coach Chris Adrian said. “She tried to dribble around the keeper, but the keeper made a good save. Jessie Kynaston followed Aislinn’s run all the way down the field and was there for the rebound which she then passed to Aislinn who scored the game-winner.”
The Bullpups had used the wind at their back to take a 2-0 lead on goals by Paige Schmidt and Alayna Wallace. Wallace had an assist on Schmidt’s goal.
“We started the game with the wind at our backs and played really well in the first half,” said Adrian, whose team is coming off a state runner-up finish. “The score was 2-0 with 20 minutes to go in the first half and we had a lot of really good chances to score, but could not get that important third goal which made the second half interesting. Salina South scored a goal with about 10 minutes left in the game and then we started to play really nervous and stopped possessing the ball which gave Salina South the chance to tie it up which they did.”
Adrian said it was a typical first game.
“We definitely didn’t help ourselves in the second half by trying to play direct through balls every time we got the chance, but it’s a game we won and will learn a lot from,” Adrian said. “The girls showed a lot of fight scoring that third goal after giving up two late goals. Salina South had all the momentum, but the girls found a way to get the win. We will definitely look at tonight’s game and correct some of the mistakes we made before we play Thursday against Salina Central.”
Abby Jantz-Allison picked up the win in goal. The Bullpups finished the day with a 12-3 advantage in shots on goal.
The MHS JVs exploded for a 5-0 victory as Hannah Hageman, Jaycee Burghart, Kelsey Wilson, MaryAnn Wurm and Michaela Bowers scored. Bowers had an assist as did Jordan Bruner and Ashley Gant.