McPherson High had a dangerous situation heading into their opening round match up in the Class 4-1A Regionals Tuesday night at McPherson Stadium.
The 8-7-1 Pups were hosting Topeka Highland Park, who had yet to win a game this season. It would have been easy to look past the Scots and towards a possible second round match with Buhler.
Instead, MHS erupted for four goals within the first 30 minutes of play, including a hat trick from senior Colleen O’Connor, to win 5-0 and advance to the next round of the South Central Regional.
“Tonight was all about taking care of business and getting out of the game injury-free with a win,” MHS coach Chris Adrian said. “Scoring four goals in the first 30 minutes allowed us to give a lot of players rest.”
O’Connor scored the first goal 6:30 into the game, then followed that up not five minutes later. Both goals were unassisted.
Fellow senior Haliey Ruder then knocked the third goal in at the 17:49 mark of the first half off an assist from Paige Schmidt.
O’Connor capped her night with the hat trick a little over 30 seconds later.
Schmidt had the fifth MHS goal at the 28:46 mark of the second half.
McPherson took 11 total shots on goal, while the defense clamped down on the Scots (0-14) and didn’t allow a single shot.
The blowout win allowed Adrian to rest up his players for the next round, which will be Thursday at McPherson Stadium.
“Most of the starters only played about 40 minutes tonight,” Adrian said, “which means we are going to be fresh and ready to go when we see Buhler again on Thursday.”
The Crusaders defeated Augusta 4-1 Tuesday night, taking an incredible 34 shots in the game; 26 on goal and five corner kicks. McPherson defeated Buhler 1-0 Thursday.
“We are expecting a tough game from Buhler,” Adrian said. “We had a great crowd for our game (Tuesday) and I’m hoping we can have even more people come cheer us on Thursday.”
Game time at McPherson Stadium is at 7 p.m.