MHS kickers advance to state

By Steve Sell
May 20, 2016
Kendall Shaw-File

Nothing much about McPherson High’s third girls soccer victory this year over Augusta was different from the other two.

Except the importance.

The Bullpups’ 6-0 coast on Thursday at Grant Complex clinched the Class 4-1A regional championship and advanced them to state, where they’ll host defending state champion Topeka Hayden at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

The teams met last year at McPherson Stadium in the title game with the senior-laden Wildcats outlasting the then-senior-less Bullpups, 1-0.

MHS, which received credit for a win on Tuesday with a first-round bye, improved to 14-2-1 while Hayden, which upset Thomas More Prep 2-0 on Thursday, is 10-8, but probably better than its record indicates.

Augusta, which had lost 5-1 and 7-0 to the Bullpups earlier this season, didn’t try any kind of junk defense, choosing to play them straight-up. It was thought the Orioles might have all their defenders near the goal to keep the game close and try to steal it at the end.

The talent level differential was evident as MHS scored four first-half goals to put the game out of reach and Augusta very seldom possessed the ball for any extensive time.

“We looked sharp. We really executed what we had been practicing,” MHS coach Chris Adrian said. “You saw the outside girls — Jessie (Kynaston), Paige (Schmidt), Rylee (Schrader), Danielle (Lacy) and Ashtynn (Unruh) — those girls got involved a lot because we’d find those gaps through and then they would hit crosses in and we looked really dangerous on those.”

Unruh, a senior reserve, scored her first career goal, which sent the team into a wild celebration.

“That’s her first goal and she’s a senior. She’s worked so hard in the program to get where she is,” Adrian said. “That’s going to be one of the highlights of the season no matter what happens from now on. For her to get a goal and Danielle played well — for those two seniors that was a big moment for them.”

Aislinn Hughes scored two goals to lead the way. Schmidt, Kynaston and Jordan Bruner also scored for the Bullpups. Hughes had two assists as well, while Lacy and Kynaston had one apiece.

Adrian thought MHS would play Hays, but Hayden’s upset of TMP shook up the bracket. So last year’s championship game is this year’s quarterfinal game.

Should MHS defeat Hayden, it would move on to the Final Four next weekend at Topeka.