McPherson High girls soccer coach Chris Adrian says his team’s 3-0 loss to Maize South on Thursday in the semifinals of the McPherson Invitational was an eye-opener.
The speedy Mavericks put two goals on the board before the game was even 7 minutes old and their defense kept the Bullpups’ expected high-octane offense in check, permitting just one shot.
It was the first loss for MHS, now 2-1, and the Bullpups will try to regroup tonight in the 6:00 third-place game against Topeka High at McPherson Stadium. Maize South and Newton meet at 8 in what should be a wildly entertaining championship game as both teams have flashed a lot of dash with their ability to move the ball and get back quickly. The Railers defeated Topeka High 3-1 in the other semi.
Adrian said the outcome sent a signal to his team just how high the bar is in Class 4A, as Maize South has dropped into the Bullpups’ class for this season.
“I knew they were fast and that’s how they scored those three goals,” Adrian said. ‘Three balls over the top (of the defense) and three breakaways. And that’s something we’ve got to work on, we’ve got to work on improving.”
Brooke Cooper scored the first goal when she outran the MHS defense and Gaby Crowell scored the final two on strikingly similar plays. South scored its first two goals just over 2 minutes apart early in the game, then the final goal came early in the second half, which put the Bullpups in a deep hole they couldn’t climb out of.
“We’re going to learn a heck of a lot more from this game than we did from the two games with Salina South,” Adrian said. “We’ve got to pass the ball better to each other. Because if we can’t possess and all we do is kick and it comes right back down, we’re not going to be successful. Against lesser teams it works because we’ve got some speed, too. But if we can’t pass the ball and use all 11 players out there, it’s like we’re playing 6 on 11 and that’s kind of what it looked like today at times.”
Adrian was disappointed his team never had a serious chance to score. South did an excellent job of taking away MHS’ strengths as the Bullpups never got any kind of offensive advantage.
The Bullpups have no time to rest as Topeka High is another quality team.
“They realize one, we’ve got to work harder in practice and this is going to give us an opportunity to see where we’re at and evaluate some changes that need to be made," Adrian said. "We’ll use this to get better.”
Freshman Claire Hedlund was one of the Bullpup bright spots.
“Claire Hedlund was a fireball out there,” Adrian said. “She was working so hard out there. I love to see that.”
• SCOREBOARD •
• TUESDAY’S GAMES •
Newton 6, Andover Central 0
Topeka 10, Augusta 0
Maize South 3, Hays 0
McPherson 4, Salina South 0
• THURSDAY’S GAMES •
Andover Central 0, Augusta 0, (Andover Central wins 6-5 in PK shootout)
Hays 1, Salina South 1 (Hays wins 3-1 in PK Shootout)
Newton 3, Topeka High 1
Maize South 3, McPherson 0
• FRIDAY’S GAMES •
2:00 — Augusta vs. Salina South, 7th place
4:00 — Andover Central vs. Hays 5th place
6:00 — Topeka High vs. McPherson, 3rd place
8:00 — Newton vs. Maize South, 1st place