If there was a positive to come out of Tuesday’s season-opening, 3-2 double-overtime loss for the McPherson High boys soccer team against Newton, it was the fact the Bullpups won’t have time to dwell on letting two one-goal leads get away.
The Bullpups have to get right back on the horse Thursday as defending Class 4-1A state champion Rose Hill invades McPherson Stadium for a 5:30 matchup of teams expected to make deep playoff runs.
The Bullpups couldn’t maintain leads of 1-0 and 2-1 as the Railers finally took their only lead of the night on a golden goal by Anthony Velazco 3 minutes into the second overtime, which capped a Railer flurry of shots.
Still, Bullpup coach Chris Adrian saw a lot of bright spots for his team, which is a combination of youth and experience.
“I saw a difference in the physicality the guys played with than you’ve seen in previous years,” said Adrian, whose team was 14-4 last year. “We were outsized at every position out there. I don’t think we had a position where we were bigger or stronger than someone. But we kept track of 50-50s (balls) and we won 75 percent of those. That’s just us being Bullpups working harder than the other team.”
The expected vaunted duo of Andric McGill and Patrick Munsey didn’t disappoint for MHS. McGill scored a goal in each half, with Munsey assisting on both. On the first goal, Devin Cape had made a perfect pass to Munsey, who then fed McGill.
Munsey, however, was not available for the two overtime sessions because of severe cramping, which affected several MHS players on the night as Adrian was subbing at a frenetic pace.
McGill’s first goal came just before the end of the first half, but Newton’s Carlos Cornejo fired off a 25-yard laser early in the second half to tie it. Midway through the second half, Munsey found an open McGill, who got into a one-one-one with Newton goalie Hervey Medina and he used some fancy footwork to win that duel for a 2-1 lead.
Newton, though, tied the game with 7:28 remaining on a goal by Jose Rojas, assisted by Pablo Ferrer Bingoel.
At the end of regulation, Newton nearly won it as MHS’ Tanner Rose had to make a sensational save to prevent a stunner.
The Bullpups had their chances throughout the game. Early in the second half, they had an attack where shots by McGill and Austin Monroe hit the post. Newton also could have scored more as it had what appeared to be an open goal in the second half, but MHS defender Hadley Hageman peeled back to make a great save as Rose had come out of the pipes to stop the shot.
“They’re a good team all-around, all 11 players,” Adrian said of Newton.
Adrian liked how some of his younger players performed.
“There was a time at the end where we’ve got five freshmen playing overtime in that game and we’re still competing,” he said.
The MHS JVs lost a 2-0 decision as Newton scored a goal in each half.
Adrian said his team won’t have any trouble getting up emotionally Thursday despite the tough loss to the Railers.
“It’s not going to be hard at all,” Adrian said. “These guys are ready for it. If I said we were playing tonight, they’re ready to go.”