Sometimes there’s nothing you can do about human nature.
Prior to Tuesday’s Class 4-1A regional soccer opener at McPherson Stadium against an Augusta team it had pummeled twice already this season, McPherson High coach Chris Adrian pulled out all the cliches to convince his team not to look past the Orioles and stressed how every game is now a one-game season.
The Bullpups didn’t get the message in the first half, as a Zaida Chapman goal was their only scoring for a 1-0 lead in a game they were hoping to end by the goal rule.
After a halftime heart-to-heart, the Bullpups played up to their potential in the second half to run away from the Orioles, 5-0.
MHS, which was 2-6 at the halfway point of the season, finally got back to .500 as it takes an 8-8-1 record to Wichita Trinity Thursday. Trinity is regarded as the Class 4-1A favorite.
“We talked about how it’s always hard to beat a team three times,” said Adrian, whose team had rolled to a pair of easy wins over the Birds. “They outhustled us in the first half. We were lucky to score a goal in the first half. We hit a cross that the goalie thought was going to go out and it ended up curving in and going into the goal. They had a couple of breaks and almost could have scored. We were lucky to be up a goal at half.”
But the 10-minute halftime break was a period of reckoning for the Bullpups. They responded with a flurry of goals, two of them by Breckon Kaufman. The others were by Bailey Holton and Jordan Bruner. Chapman assisted on two of the goals, while Kaufman and Paige Schmidt also were credited with assists.
The Bullpups also limited the Orioles’ touches as MHS goalie Shaelah White, in her return after missing several games, had to face only one shot.
“We talked about a few things at halftime, gave them a few words I guess you could say,” said a grinning Adrian, who gave off the vibe that he did most of the talking and the players did the listening. “It was all about wanting to be out here, I guess, and wanting to prove we’re a better team.”
Adrian said Kaufman scored a quick goal to open the second half and that seemed to relax the team as it was able to get into the flow. “That kind of got the ball rolling,” he said.
Adrian said Holton’s score was “one of the goals of the year for us.” She started a sequence of events with a sliding save and after what Adrian said was a string “of about 20 passes,” Holton completed what she started with a goal.
MHS now revs up for the 6:30 p.m. clash Thursday with Wichita Trinity, considered the state favorite. Adrian, however, said his team should embrace the challenge.
“They’re expected to win the whole thing, we’re going to come in as underdogs,” Adrian said. “We’re going to come out with nothing to lose. They’re a solid team. I’m excited about our opportunity to come in there because no one expects us to do anything. I think our girls will actually respond better to that than coming out expecting to win. When we play good teams, we usually play pretty good.”