MAIZE — It was supposed to be a mere formality on Tuesday when McPherson High’s boys soccer team opened play in the Maize South Invitational by taking on Wichita Classical.
But the lads from Wichita put up a tremendous fight as MHS was just a 1-0 winner to advance to Thursday’s semifinals, where it will take on Valley Center at 3:30 p.m. The Hornets were impressive in routing traditionally strong Wichita Independent, 4-1.
Salina South edged Thomas More Prep 2-1 and takes on Maize South, an impressive 6-1 winner over Andover, in the other semifinal.
The Bullpups’ offense was stuck in neutral as the only scoring came in the first half on a goal by Britton Haigh, assisted by Joel Jaime. MHS did put eight shots on goal and Classical had only one chance.
“This game was much more of a struggle than it should of been, but a big part of that goes down to how Wichita Classical played and they deserve a lot of credit,” MHS coach Chris Adrian said. “They were organized and played with 11 players behind the ball, making it really difficult for us to get a good look at goal. It was one of those games though where we knew we only needed one goal and that proved to be the case. After Britton Haigh scored off a nice cross from Jael Jaime, I felt confident we would at least get a second goal but we really struggled in front of the goal, not only with our finishing, but also with our passing. It’s strange to say on a boys team, but I need some players to step up and look to take people on in front of the goal and shoot the ball. I’ve got more players on this team that would prefer to get the assist than the goal, which is great but someone has to kick the ball in the goal.”
Adrian says the Bullpups, now 2-1 on the season, will have to be at the top of their game against Valley Center.
“Thursday we are really going to be tested when we play Valley Center,” he said. “They have a big, strong center-forward who is going to be a handful and their team moves the ball well. I’m looking forward to seeing how our defense competes against their offense.”