SALINA — There were no signs of nerves for the youthful McPherson High girls soccer team in its 2014 debut on Tuesday.
Just the opposite, in fact.
The Bullpups, starting four freshmen and five sophomores, turned in a veteran-like performance with a 2-1 road victory against expected Class 5A power Salina South.
“Tonight was a great first game for the girls,” MHS coach Chris Adrian said. “It’s been a while since we beat Salina South and the way we did it was great. You would have thought that we were midway through the season based off of our team's organization. With spring break and state basketball, we have only had a handful of practices with the entire team and I expected that we would have some issues especially when you consider we started four freshmen, but that was just not the case at all. Each of the freshmen played amazing tonight.”
The Bullpups took a 1-0 lead into intermission on a penalty kick by freshman Alayna Wallace after freshman Sydney Ruder’s attempt to score was handballed by the Cougars.
Late in the game, Wallace nailed a 25-yard free kick to give the Bullpups a 2-0 lead. South’s only goal was a late PK.
McPherson’s Shaeleh White was kept busy in goal as she came up with five saves.
All-in-all, the performance wildly exceeded Adrian’s expectations.
“This team is extremely unselfish and plays for each other,” Adrian said. “Our focus has been mainly on defense for the first two weeks of practice and I was really pleased with the way our defense played. They kept Salina South from even getting a decent look at goal until midway through the second half. Offensively, you could tell we just have not had enough time to build chemistry between players, but that will come and when it does we are going to be really tough.”
Salina South won the junior varsity game, 1-0.
The Bullpups make their home debut Thursday against Salina Central, with the JV game at 6 p.m., followed by the varsity at 7:30.
“I am very excited to see what this team can accomplish,” Adrian said.