SALINA — The McPherson High School girls soccer team has only been completely intact for three practices so far.
With the end of winter sports and the beginning of soccer season so close together, the Bullpups were still working out some chemistry issues heading into Thursday’s season opener against Salina South. Because of that, head coach Chris Adrian had one goal in mind for his squad — play harder than the other team.
The Bullpups are off to a 1-0 start after blanking Salina South 2-0 in Salina. It wasn’t pretty, but the Bullpups got the job done.
“You gotta give the girls a ton of credit, they soaked up everything we talked about this week like a sponge and had some flashes where they played really good soccer,” Adrian said. “Very rarely did a Salina South player receive a ball without a defender on her tight, and the girls won just about every ball out of the air.”
Jessie Kynaston scored the first goal of the season, assisted by Aislinn Hughes, in the first half. A Salina South own goal in the second half proved to be the dagger. Hughes was credited with her second assist.
“Jessie worked really hard on offense and defense,” Adrian said. “Alayna Wallace probably ran 20 miles, and I can’t even count how many times the Hein sisters (Laiken and Lauren) stepped in front of their mark and won the ball. Ashley Gant had an awesome game filling in for our defensive leader Heidi Myers, who had to be withdrawn late in the first half due to illness. Ashley played calm and looked like she had been a varsity starters for years.”
The Bullpups now have nearly two weeks to work out the kinks before hosting their home invitational on March 28.
“It’s nice to open the season with a win, but this game did show us we have a long way to go,” Adrian said. “We see Salina South in the first round of our tournament and hopefully we show a lot of improvement in a short amount of time.”
The junior varsity team played a scoreless draw with the Cougars. Adrian said the girls fired multiple shots at the Salina South goal, but just couldn’t get one to go in.