GREAT BEND — The McPherson High School soccer team did not get the win, but it did get something just as important.

The Bullpups were fully tested by a solid Great Bend team for 80 minutes, only to lose 1-0. The Bullpups were cruising through their AVCTL DIII/IV schedule, and with playoff soccer in the near future, they needed to be challenged.

A first-half goal gave Great Bend all the separation they would need to win, despite a late rally from the Bullpups.

“Obviously a win would have been great for the team’s confidence, but I believe we are in a good spot going into post season,” head coach Chris Adrian said. “With this being our final ‘practice’ game before the real season begins next week, we tried some new things in the attempt to limit the amount of balls getting played over or through our back line, as that has been an area of concern in some of our past games. With only a few days of training, I thought the boys executed the game plan really well.”

Adrian said it was a tale of two halves for the Bullpups.

“We came out slow and that really was the difference in the game,” Adrian said. “The team finally woke up and showed some urgency in the second half, and we began to attack a lot more. The problem was when we had a chance to make a pass to give someone a great goal scoring opportunity, we would hit the defender with the pass or miss hit the shot which is why we only ended up forcing two saves from their keeper.”

The Bullpups are going to take away the positives from Thursday night and move forward to the playoffs next week.

“This game did give us good opportunities to try some things and put a few players in different positions going into next week,” Adrian said. “We will have the entire team healthy and ready to go next week, which is a huge bonus.”

McPherson’s first-round opponent is currently TBD.

Contact Gallagher Martin by email at gmartin@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow him on Twitter @GMartinSentinel