McPherson High’s girls soccer team owes one to Wichita Trinity Academy here Tuesday.
Make that two.
All that stands between the youthful Bullpups and a berth in the Class 4-1A Final Four — which will be contested Friday and Saturday on their very home McPherson Stadium pitch — is a victory over the Knights, who have turned up like a bad penny in the past to haunt the Bullpups.
“Trinity knocked us out in the regional final in 2014 and 2012,” said MHS coach Chris Adrian, whose team hosts the Knights at 7 p.m. in the Class 4-1A state quarterfinals. “That will help serve as motivation for sure.”
At first glance, it would appear to be a perfect draw for the Bullpups. The Knights are somehow just 6-11 on the season, but Adrian said there’s never been a record more deceiving. They punished Winfield 8-0 in Thursday’s regional championship game as their difficult regular-season schedule apparently prepared them well for the postseason.
“Trinity's regular season does not reflect their talent level at all,” Adrian said. “They play extremely difficult competition and we are viewing this matchup for what it truly is, two undefeated teams with 2-0 records fighting for a trip to the Final 4. The girls are healthy, prepared and ready to go. Let's hope the weather cooperates and we have a big crowd.”
MHS was the region’s No. 1 seed, so it had to play only one game to advance to state. Adrian admitted the team showed some nerves here Thursday as it found itself behind to upset-minded Rose Hill 1-0 for nearly 70 minutes, before freshman Jessie Kynaston made a tremendous individual effort to tie the game at 1-all. The game wound up going into overtime when Kynsaton, off a perfect feed from fellow freshman Rylee Schrader, drove in the game-winner.
The Bullpups are 13-3-1 on the season, the only losses to 6A schools Derby (which is in the 6A state quarterfinals) and Hutchinson and 5A school Andover Central, that coming way back in the McPherson Invitational. The tie came against Valley Center, which is in the Elite Eight of Class 5A.
It’s been a while since the Bullpups have been a major player on the state scene. They made the Final Four four straight years when the program was in its infant stages and there weren’t as many teams as there is now as the game has exploded in the last decade. The Bullpups were third in the state in 1999 and 2002, while taking fourth in 2000 and 2001.
• Tuesday’s Elite Eight Schedule •
Wichita Trinity (6-11) at McPherson (13-3-1)
Topeka Hayden (13-5) at Thomas More Prep (12-3-1)
Kansas City Piper (11-4-1) at Bishop Miege (14-4)
Spring Hill (13-5) at DeSoto (13-4-1)