McPherson High boys’ soccer coach Chris Adrian called it one of the best tie games he’d ever seen.
MHS and Hutchinson took each other to the limit through regulation and into not one, but two overtimes Thursday night at McPherson Stadium, with neither team ever managing to get the ball into the net and ending the game in a 0-0 tie.
“Hutch played extremely hard,” Adrian said. “They’re a good team; we knew that. They’ve played some really good competition.”
From the onset, it was a big-game atmosphere, as MHS honored 11 seniors before the opening kick. Hutchinson brought a vocal crowd, as well, that created a raucous atmosphere in the final game before the state playoffs begin with regional competition next week.
“We needed that,” Adrian said. “We needed the atmosphere, we needed their fans getting on our players. They need to experience that.”
Neither team managed to get a good look at goal before the 24:30 mark of the first half, when McPherson freshmen Andric McGill arched a shot that was just knocked away by Salthawk goal keeper Bryce Davis.
The next opportunity for the Pups came with 6:40 left in the hal, as senior Dylan Blosser had another near-miss. He followed that up with a second shot 30 seconds later that was, again, blocked by Davis. Senior Adam Bowers tried to poke in the rebound, but couldn’t get the brakes on in time to avoid crashing into the goal.
Blosser and McGill, both, had shots on goal in the first 30 minutes of the second half, but they either went high or wide. The McPherson defensive effort, meanwhile, kept the Salthawks from getting very many looks on goal, as they only had two the entire game, with senior Bullpup goalie Dylan Stos making both saves.
Hutchinson did give the Pups a bit of a scare at the end of the first overtime, has Stos was caught out of position after blocking a shot, only for Hutchinson to attempt a follow-up that was emphatically knocked out of the way by Bowers.
Both teams became more aggressive as time wound down in the second overtime, but the game still ended in the 0-0 deadlock.
“This was the game you want to play before you go to postseason,” Adrian said. “Besides winning, everything else was exactly what I wanted to see from the guys. I was very proud of them.”
The JV squad also finished their game scoreless.
The Pups end the regular season at 14-1-1 and the AVCTL Div. III champions and are expected to host throughout the Class 4-1A South Central Kansas Regionals next week. Seeding will be done Saturday morning at Wichita Northwest High School.
Page 2 of 2 - In addition to Stos, Bowers and Blosser, the Pups also recognized seniors Peter Horton, Ryan Horton, Kerrick van Asselt, Logan Schrag, Todd Graber, Ethan Nadeau and Adrian Garcia, as well as manager Keshawn Sewell.
It is a senior class that had only lost three games, total, at McPherson Stadium.
“I think, right now, this is probably the best senior class we’ve had in a long time,” Adrian said. “To have this many guys who share the ball, move the ball. We’ve got six seniors with over five goals. That’s impressive.”
Contact Chris Swick by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @SwickSentinel.