The competition definitely has stiffened in the second half of the season for the fourth-ranked McPherson High soccer team.
After waltzing through the first half of the schedule 8-0 with a 44-3 goal differential, the Bullpups are finally facing the quality of competition that should toughen them up for postseason play.
MHS, coming off its first loss of the season to Salina Central last week, had no bargain here Tuesday night as Division III counterpart and fifth-ranked Rose Hill was able to neutralize MHS’ high-powered attack for much of the game with energized and at times overzealous play, as evidenced by six yellow cards and two reds — one of them coach Jerry Treat — that left it a man down the final 20:01.
But MHS, whose only goal for much of the game was one that Rose Hill accidentally scored for it, broke it open late for a 3-0 victory, as Ryan Horton scored two goals off assists from Nick Torres in the final 13:33.
“Last year we lost our last game of the season because we couldn’t keep our composure,” MHS coach Chris Adrian said. “So this year you have been able to see a big difference. When we come up against adversity, we just play our game and let our play do the talking. We didn’t complain when a call went against, we just kept playing.”
MHS, which is 3-0 against Division III teams with Buhler still to play, kept on constant pressure, but Rose Hill had some quick defenders to somewhat match the Bullpups’ speed. Still, MHS had a whopping 13-2 advantage in shots and let some potential opportunities get away, as Rose Hill goalie Aaron Parrott made some acrobatic saves.
MHS plays the second of five in row at home Thursday against Junction City.
The JV game was a scoreless tie.