In actuality, the Class 5A State Soccer Tournament begins on Thursday for McPherson High.
The Bullpups brushed aside Great Bend 10-0 here Tuesday in a Class 5A regional semifinal game ended at the half by the goal-rule, which saved some wear and tear on a blistering-hot night after many games having been played in freezing temperatures.
The Bullpups’ 12th win in a row and 16th in 17 games propels them into Thursday’s 6 p.m. home game against Kapaun, which has been miscast as a No. 7 seed as it’s 12-5, the Wichita City League co-champions and the only team to hand No. 1 overall regional seed Carroll a loss this season.
The Bullpups stuffed the stat sheet against overmatched Great Bend, which didn’t have the speed or skillset to put up a challenge as MHS was firing on all cylinders.
Anna Nason had the game of her career with four goals and an assist to highlight the Bullpups’ scoring avalanche. Belle Alexander added two goals, with single tallies by Kenzee Godwin, Claire Hedlund, Lauren Labertew and Megan Everhart.
Hedlund was credited with two assists, while Godwin, Jaycee Burghart and Hannah Hageman recorded the other assists.
MHS started mildly, but really picked it up after the water break that came with just under 20 minutes left for safety purposes. The Bullpups had a stretch where they scored five goals in just 6 minutes and it was Everhart who pushed the game into halftime termination with a rocket shot at the 2:09 mark.
About the time MHS was up 3-0, Bullpup coach Chris Adrian said his team was thinking about Kapaun, which has a storied tradition and is a state championship contender despite its No. 7 ranking.
“Getting a couple of early goals was big for us today,” he said. “Because I really think that it could have stayed 1-0 or 2-0 for a while...once we got that third, fourth, fifth goal you could tell they were done. And it was a hot day and they played a play-in game (on Monday) and that was tough.”
The Bullpups, now with 103 goals while allowing only 8, have perhaps been somewhat panned around the state for their schedule and Adrian said now it’s time for his team to prove it’s top-of-the-shelf worthy. If it can take care of the Crusaders, who were a 3-2 winner over Salina South in their regional semi, they eliminate a potential Final Four team.
Adrian scouted that game with South and knows his team will have to play its best game of the year to advance to state.
“I don’t know if the scoreline reflected that game necessarily,” he said. “They looked like that maybe they were looking at a potential matchup with us Thursday. They came out and looked a little slow, but it’s program that’s so strong. And our girls all season long have felt like that we get overlooked here in McPherson and that’s what I told them after this game, now’s your opportunity. Win that game Thursday and people will notice you.”