MAIZE— The McPherson High School boys soccer team were on the road as they competed against Valley Center High School in the annual Maize South Soccer Invitational on Tuesday. After a late comeback in the second half tie, forcing penalty a kick shootout, the Bullpups fall in the end after missing the last shot shots, giving the Valley Center a 2-1 (4-3 in PK) victory in the opening round.

It was a defensive stalemate between the two teams early in the first half. After going scoreless for 25 minutes, The Hornets were on the board first, and the Bullpups trailed 1-0 after reaching the 15-minute mark.

"Valley Center played really hard, they were organized, and you got to give them a lot of credit," McPherson head coach Chris Adrian said. "They played smart, and they put us in a tough position. That's something we need to prepared for a little sooner."

The Bullpups showed more aggressiveness in the second half. The Bullpups showed aggressiveness in the second half. Jael Smith launched a 30-footer outside the tackle box, over Hornets' goalkeeper, missing the tip the ball, hitting the crossbar and right to the net, giving the Bullpups their first goal of the night and tying the ballgame.

"He's got that in him," Adrian said "He hit one just about seven years ago during practice, and he's got that ability on set plays where he could be so dangerous."

Even though the game was tied 1-1 apiece, the Bullpups seemed in control after struggling in the first half.

"Second half was a lot better, we were way more comfortable on defense," Adrian said. "We put another defender back there because the way Valley Center was attacking us. They were spreading us out and with our back three, it was just too much space to cover, so we put a fourth defender back there. "

"I thought we controlled a large amount of the second half honestly," Adrian continued. "We had the better of the opportunities and once we got that tying goal, I thought we were all over them in 10 minutes. We almost got anther one with five minutes left , we had a chance to get a breakaway, we just missed that final ball. "

Bullpups recorded seven shots on goal. The last two shots in the second half were as close as it gets, but the Bullpups wasn't able to capture their first lead of the night.

After the end of the regulation, it came down to a penalty kick showdown. The Bullpups were down 4-3 and needed to make the goal to keep going, but no prevail. For Adrian, despite the loss, it was something McPherson needed as they look to improve for the rest of the season.

"It's a good learning experience for them to be put in the position like that in a PK shootout," Adrian said. It's a great experience for both season play," Adrian said. The guys that missed their PKs today, I guarantee you that they will be with a ball and that's going to be their motivation to work on improving that."

As the Hornets advanced in the quarterfinals, the Bullpups will fall in he losing bracket. They will face Wichita-Classical High School this Thursday. Sept. 6 at 3:30 p.m. at the YMCA field.

 Contact Peter Holland Jr. by email at pholland@mcphersonsentinel.com or follow him on Twitter @Petes_Picks_or our sports page @MacCountySports