"Salina Central is the best team we have seen so far this season and we really struggled to compete with their physicality."

SALINA — Playing their fifth game in 10 days, the McPherson High School boys' soccer team lost 1-0 Thursday to Salina Central. Nathan Lloyd was stellar in goal, racking up eight saves but the Bullpups generated no offense to back him up, managing just five shots on goal.

"This was another difficult away game and we once again fell short," said Bullpups coach Chris Adrian. "Salina Central is the best team we have seen so far this season and we really struggled to compete with their physicality."

Mac lost two starters to injury during the game, as Drew Schrader and Austin Monroe both went out. Adrian is hopeful they will be able to play again soon. Despite the losses, the Pups had their chances, including a free kick by Jael Jaime late in the game, after a Darrius Armstrong breakaway was stopped by a take down from the Mustang goalie that resulted in a red card. The new keeper was able to turn away the kick that would have tied the game.

"After that we were all over Salina playing with our man advantage but couldn't get the equalizing goal," Adrian recounted. "We've now had three games against really good teams where we've lost by one goal late in the game. We've got to pick our heads up, not feel sorry for ourselves and come ready to work hard Friday at practice."

The Bullpups JV team lost 2-1 to the Mustangs. Zach Wash scored the lone goal for Mac.

McPherson will take to the road for the seventh time in eight games on Tuesday as they head to Augusta. The JV game kicks off at 5 p.m. followed by the varsity at 6:30 p.m. at Hiller Stadium in Augusta.

Contact Matt Cole by email at mcole@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow him on Twitter @MacSentinel.