Logan Ward reminded the McPherson High boys soccer team that it can’t lose focus for even a split-second.
The Bullpups were rollicking along with a 4-0 lead in the first half of their game with Circle here Tuesday night and just waiting for halftime to arrive.
In the closing seconds, however, Ward stunned the relaxed Bullpup defense — which had not given up a shot at that time — by scoring a goal just as the scoreboard hit 0:00. After conferring, the officials decided the goal did indeed count, the first one MHS had allowed at home in six matches this year.
While the Bullpups were never in any trouble in their 5-1 regular-season home finale, Ward’s goal left MHS coach Chris Adrian disappointed.
“That was a little frustrating giving up that goal,” said Adrian, whose team takes an 11-4 record to Great Bend on Thursday for the regular-season finale. “That was a lack of focus where we’re all getting so excited about who’s going to score the next score, are we going to set this person up to score, that we forget to do our job and that’s play your position and we give up a goal.”
It wouldn’t have bothered Adrian so much, but that wasn’t the first instance of this happening.
“That was very similar to the type of goal we gave up against Buhler, there was just a little bit of miscommunication in the back and we give up a breakaway,” Adrian said.
Other than that, however, Adrian thought his team did some things well. Connor Williams led the offense with two goals, while Trenton Stecklein, Tyler Hoxie and Drew Schrader scored singletons. Schrader also had an assist, along with Samie Jaime, Darrius Armstrong and Britton Haigh.
“I think you saw a little bit of motivation in the second half. The guys were frustrated to give up their first goal at home this year,” Adrian said. “They were like, ‘we’ve given up one, let’s not give up another.’”
Circle probably wouldn’t have taken the game the full 80 minutes had goalie Caleb Page not been so spectacular. The Bullpups launched 16 shots on frame and Page made some tremendous saves.
“Their keeper was phenomenal tonight,” Adrian said. “That was the scouting report, they give up a lot of shots but their keeper is going to make those saves. He did a great job of keeping them in the game.”
Circle actually had come into the game having won seven in a row.
The MHS JVs and T-Birds played to a 0-0 tie.
MHS will try to end the regular season on a strong note against a Great Bend team that often gives the Bullpups trouble.
“Big, physical, strong team,” Adrian said. “They have really good size. That’s going to be a good test. I believe they’re a little over .500. They play a lot of good teams and we have to play on their grass field, which is not going to be good shape. We haven’t played on a field like that all year. It’s going to be a challenge for us being a possession team. It will be a little slower game. It’s a good test going into the postseason because that’s the type of team we’re going to have to beat to be successful.”