None of the signs, quite honestly, pointed in McPherson High’s favor Tuesday night prior to it hosting Hays in soccer action at McPherson Stadium.
The Bullpups were sliding with a 4-7-1 record. Leading scorer Paige Schmidt was on the bench with an injured ankle. Longtime goalie Shaelah White also was sidelined with a knee injury after having started every game between the pipes.
To boot, Hays came in a sparkling 10-2-1 and had looked extremely sharp in last month’s McPherson Invitational.
Didn’t look good at all.
With so much going against them, the Bullpups showed character beyond their years. They played by far their best game of the season to pin a 2-0 upset on the Indians to improve to 5-7-1 and perhaps signalled that their fortunes could soon experience a renaissance.
“Tonight was a big win for the girls,” said MHS coach Chris Adrian, who has never wavered in his belief that this can be a good team. “Having watched Hays play three times in our tournament earlier in the year, we knew what to expect and we knew how we needed to play to get the result. The girls executed the game plan so well and played with a lot of energy.”
Breckon Kaufman scored in the first half and the MHS defense made that stand up for a 1-0 lead.
“It seemed like the girls used the adversity as a motivation and played hungry,” Adrian said. “Breckon scored a great goal in the first half against the wind early in the game. which was key for us. You could tell the first goal would be huge and to get that was a big boost.”
Zaida Chapman tallied an insurance goal in the second half, assisted by Bailey Holton. The Bullpups had seven shots for the game, while freshman Sydney Ruder, making her first start in goal, was sterling with four stops.
“Hays has scored a lot of goals this year against some good teams, so to get a shutout was a big accomplishment for our defense and goalie Sydney Ruder,” Adrian said.
The Bullpups will try to stay on their high Thursday when arch-rival Buhler invades McPherson Stadium.
In JV action, Hays came away with a 1-0 victory.