"We simply did not compete at a high enough level in the first half to win a championship game."
WICHITA — For the second night in a row a Maize South High School team got the best of a McPherson High School team as the Mavericks boys' soccer team beat the Bullpups 1-0 in their own tournament final at Maize South High School on Saturday. Despite the low score it was the Pups play in the first half that ultimately did them in.
"I'm not going to sugar coat it," said McPherson Head Coach Chris Adrian. "We simply did not compete at a high enough level in the first half to win a championship game against a good Maize South team. I don't know if it was nerves from playing in a final with a young team or fatigue but we failed to challenge for ball in the air and go into tackles with any force during the first half of the game. It was not Bullpup soccer."
The game was still close and looked like it was going to go to penalty kicks when Maize South hit a shot from 25 yards out into the corner to take the lead with about three minutes left and Mac was unable to answer. McPherson had four shots on goal while Maize South had 5. Nathan Lloyd had four saves for the Bullpups in goal.
"The second half was much better and we finally started to physically compete and win first and second balls," Adrian commented. "Once that happened, our possession improved and we began to get better opportunities but somehow failed to score on any of them. We really should have had three or four goals but the struggle in front of the net continued. I thought Devin Cape, Drew Schrader, and Darrius Armstrong did an awesome job of leading by example in the second half and all three worked their tails off for the team. I was pleased with how we defended for the most part. Maize South is a high powered offense and I thought our defense kept them in check. On offense, we’ve got to keep working hard in practice on our combination play in front of the goal and finishing. It’s not that we aren’t creating chances, we are actually averaging more shot attempts in the first five games of this season than we were last year, the difference is last year we had 15 goals scored through the first five games and this year we only have seven."
Cape and Armstrong were both named to the all-tournament team and Darrius Armstrong was named tournament MVP.
The Bullpups will have their home-opener Tuesday as they host Winfield at McPherson Stadium. Junior varsity kicks off at 6 p.m. followed by the Varsity, scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Contact Matt Cole by email at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @MacSentinel.