MHS kickers one win away from Final Four

By Steve Sell
May 22, 2017
Kendall Shaw

Apparently the road to the Final Four for the McPherson High girls soccer team goes through Hays.

After knocking off Hays 1-0 on Friday in the Class 4-1A regional finals, the Bullpups are matched against the other high school in Hays, Thomas More Prep, in the state quarterfinals for the right to advance to this weekend’s Final Four in Wichita.

Game time is 6 p.m. at McPherson Stadium. The Bullpups are 15-3 on the season and winners of eight straight, while the Monarchs are 12-4-1.

“TMP is going to be a different kind of test compared to Hays,” said MHS coach Chris Adrian, whose team is one victory away from a third straight appearance in the Final Four.  “Hays was compact and played defense first, but TMP has some very talented forwards and looks to attack all the time. They are going to try to stretch our team out to create space for their forwards to attack. It is going to be vital that we possess the ball and work as a team.”

While the normally high-scoring Bullpups were kept in check in Friday’s regional championship game, their paucity of goals wasn’t due to lack of chances. MHS had, legitimately, 12 good chances to score, but couldn’t finish as it hit the post or bar five times.

“We have four All-State caliber goal-scorers, so teams are not able to come in thinking if we stop one or two players from scoring we have a chance,” Adrian said.

Aislinn Hughes, Alayna Wallace and Claire Hedlund have all scored 17 goals, while Wallace and Hughes have 19 and 18 assists, respectively. Jessie Kynaston has added 13 goals and also has 6 assists, while Riley Hett has 10 shutouts in goal.

“When I look at goal and assist stats that this team has a compiled, as well as the defensive stats, I see a team that is primed for a great postseason run” Adrian said. “Aislinn and Alayna have both already broken the single-season record for assists and for two players to do that in the same season is awesome and shows how well this group plays together.”

In the other South Central semifinal, Maize South (16-1-1) hosts Trinity Academy (7-9). South is one of three teams to defeat the Bullpups this year. If Maize South and MHS win, the Mavericks would be the No. 1 seed from the South Central at the Final Four and the Bullpups would be the No. 2 seed. If the Bullpups and Trinity win, then MHS would be the No. 1 South Central seed and Trinity would be No. 2.

In the Northeast, Spring Hill (13-4-1) hosts Miege (10-7-1), while Louisburg (12-5-1) is home to take on Kansas City Piper (11-6). While Miege has the worst record, many expect it to win. If the Stags do advance, they assured of being the No. 2 seed from the North Central.