ELBING — What was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the McPherson High soccer team is now at the doorstep of yet another Final Four appearance.
The Bullpups claimed the Class 4-1A South Central Regional championship Thursday afternoon with a gutty 1-0 road decision over Berean Academy.
The Bullpups, 11-5-2, qualified for the state’s Elite Eight. The KSHSAA pairings have not been released as there is still one regional game left to be played today. MHS was third in the state last year, fourth in 2012.
Lone senior Ethan VanDorn’s goal 7 minutes into the second half was the game’s only scoring, as the Bullpups turned to their defense the rest of the way to hold off the physical Warriors.
MHS coach Chris Adrian had nothing but admiration for his team.
“The boys played so hard against a really good Berean attack,” Adrian said. “They were bigger, faster and stronger than we were, but we dominated the 50-50 battle in the midfield. Patrick Munsey and Jeremy Krehbiel were winning headers all over the place. This was a completely different team than I saw Tuesday night in the first half. Like just about every sport, it comes down to playing your best at the right time. This team is doing that and I love their mentality when they come into games as underdogs. They are on a roll and are 6-0-1 in their last 7 games, only giving up one goal in that time. We are now one win away from getting back to the Final 4, something a lot of people would not have predicted back in August.”
The Bullpups survived even though starters Jose Arriola, Hadley Hageman and Kyle Taliaferro were out during the second half with injuries. Adrian said he hopes all three are back for Tuesday’s state opener.