McPherson High’s girls soccer team appears to be on a mission to attend the Class 4-1A State Final Four as participants and not spectators.
The Bullpups certainly are right in the mix for one of the four spots for May 29-30’s gathering of soccer superpowers at McPherson Stadium.
With a 4-1 victory over Hays on Tuesday, the Bullpups now have reeled off four wins in a row to improve to 10-3.
There are three games left in the regular season and every victory is important since the postseason seeding is less than two weeks away.
MHS goes on the road Thursday for the always-intense rivalry game with Buhler. The Bullpups then have two games next week, home against Circle on Monday and at Valley Center on Thursday.
Bullpup coach Chris Adrian would like to believe his team will be favored against Buhler and Circle, while he admits Valley Center should be a worthy challenger.
“Valley Center will be really tough, they beat Hutchinson earlier in the year, but are very similar to Hutch,” said Adrian, whose team lost 1-0 to the Salthawks for one of their three blemishes. “But we think we can win that game.”
What makes the Bullpups’ drive for a deep postseason run impressive is that they’re a team without a single senior starter. In Tuesday’s game, Adrian sent out a team of three freshmen, four sophomores and four juniors. And unlike recent years, Adrian has a lot of depth at his disposal as he can sub more than he ever has.
The defense has been a constant. Except for a hiccup against Derby when the Panthers scored seven goals (a majority of them late), MHS has been stifling. It allowed only one goal in two of its losses and most of the other games have been shutouts. Sydney Ruder has brought a lot of athleticism to the goalie position, as she’s a two-sport standout as she also competes in track. Breckon Kaufman is the unquestioned leader as she’s an enforcer, while Laiken Hein, Maisie Edmonson, Shelby Gudenkauf and Heidi Myers help blanket the back end.
The MHS offense is ever improving. Aislinn Hughes has had a monster freshman season, giving the team the speed-burner that perhaps was lacking last year. Alayna Wallace has a big-time leg, booming a 35-yard goal in the Hays victory. MHS can strike a number of different ways as Paige Schmidt, Anna Schwindt, Michelle Carrillo, Jessie Kynaston, Danielle Lacy and Jordan Bruner make up a nice rotation. The luxury is that Adrian doesn’t have to play all his forward and midfielders 80 minutes because of the numbers.
Before the season, there was a belief that the Bullpups could contend for a state championship in 2016. It appears they have moved up their timetable.