McPherson High boys soccer coach Chris Adrian had a definite game plan here Monday and hoped his team could come close to accomplishing everything on his wish list.
Consider it mission accomplished.
The Bullpups continued their McPherson Stadium mastery with a 5-0 blanking of Hutchinson as they're yet to permit a goal at home.
“That couldn’t have gone any better for us quite honestly,” said Adrian, whose 9-3 team goes to Buhler today to determine the league champion in a battle of D-III undefeated teams. “We’ve got everyone healthy going into the next game. That was the best game we’ve played all season. Hutch is not a bad team. You saw the first 15 minutes. The PK (by Tyler Hoxie) was big and I think the double save by (MHS goalie) Nathan Lloyd completely changed the complexion of the game. If he doesn’t make that save, it could have been a completely different game.”
The Salthawks had a golden chance to score just 4 minutes in, but Lloyd turned back a shot, then flicked away the rebound attempt.
Five minutes later, Hoxie scored on his PK, the precursor to what was a four-goal outburst in the first half that essentially decided the game.
“Hutch is a really good team, but has lost a bunch of close games,” Adrian said. “If you let them believe they’re going to have a chance, they’re good, but once we got that second goal right away you saw them get frustrated and their heads dropped.”
After Hoxie’s PK, Samie Jaime ripped a 25-yard lefty frozen rope off a Darrius Armstrong pass to make it 2-0. Connor Williams, after a pass by Drew Schrader, made it 3-0 with 7:41 left in the first half and then Williams turned passer with a thread-the-needle assist to Armstrong, who made the deposit to finish the half.
“Those two (Williams and Armstrong) have been able to develop a really nice connection,” Adrian said. “Drew Schrader as well, we’re getting those triangle of guys. What we scored a lot of goals on today was good defense. We forced them to turn the ball over in the middle and then it was a quick pass to Darrius, who touches it back to Connor, who gets it back to him. We’re scoring on three passes on counters without just kicking the ball long and outrunning the defenders.”
Armstrong scored early in the second half after a Schrader assist to make it 5-0 and Adrian was able to rotate players in and out from there to preserve them for today.
Adrian said the emergence of Williams has been a plus.
“He was an animal out there today and that’s exactly what he looked like against Salina South the last game,” he said. “He’s just been on fire. We had a conversion with our seniors and we said we’ve got seven practices left or six practices, and that just kind of has awoken those guys. We’re playing on fire right now. If I wanted to draw it up, this is what it would look like.”
Today’s game at Buhler is big not for just the league, but seeding. MHS is striving to have as many postseason games at home as it can.
“They’re good, they're a solid team,” Adrian said of the Crusaders. “I’ve seen them play a couple of times. They’ve got a lot of speed up top, a lot of talent. They’re going to run behind us. If we lose possession of the ball, that plays right into their hands.”
The MHS JVs also came away with a win, 4-1. Cael Bauer, Luke Brossard, Cody Achilles and Logan Ediger scored, with Bauer credited with the only assist.