McPherson High's girls soccer team won't be the oldest team on the field, with only one senior, but that doesn't mean they won't be full of both experience and a fire to compete.

McPherson High’s girls soccer team won’t be the oldest team on the field, with only one senior, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be full of both experience and a fire to compete.
“The expectations for this team are really high,” Bullpup coach Chris Adrian said. “We are returning mot of the team we had last year and are bolstered by a very strong freshman class.”
The Pups kicked off their 2015 campaign Tuesday with a 1-0 win over Salina South that kept the Bullpup crowd on the edge of their seats until junior Paige Schmidt final broke through the Cougar defense with the game winner in the 78th minute.
Adrian rotated a young group in the season-opening win, though he admitted that choosing the starting lineup was a bit of a challenge.
“I honestly have at least 20 girls who I can see challenging for starting varsity spots,” Adrian, who is in his fifth year as MHS coach, said. “Alexis Young is our only senior, which makes the fact that we have 34 players on the roster that much more impressive. But I don’t see leadership being an issue for this group. They enjoy playing together and challenging each other in practice and I’ve had several juniors really step up and take on the leadership role.”
Those leaders include defender Breckon Kaufman, foward Paige Schmidt, midfielder Michelle Carrillo. Sophomores back from last year that are expected to make an impact are defender Heidi Myers and midfielder Alayna Wallace. Sophomore Sydney Ruder has slid into the goalkeeper spot held last year by Shaelah White.
Sophomore foward Zaida Chapman is also expected to be in the mix as an on-field leader, however she suffered a knee injury Tuesday against Salina South and her prognosis was unknown.
The freshman class also played a significant number of minutes on Tuesday. Adrian expects that to be a continuing trend on throughout the season. Aislinn Hughes, Jessie Kynaston, Rylee Schrader, Maisie Edmonson and Laiken Hein all saw a number of minutes on the field in the win over South.
Sophomore Anna Schwindt is a newcomer that is also in the mix for a starting spot.
McPherson will host the Class 4-1A state championship in May, which is providing even more motivation for the Lady Pups.
“With McPherson hosting the state final four, the girls are extremely motivated and are working hard for the opportunity to play at home come the end of May,” Adrian said.
Of course, there is a lot of soccer to be played before then. The Pups are on the road tonight against Salina Central and host their invitational tournament next week at McPherson Stadium.
The Pups open against Andover Central Tuesday at 8 p.m. Maize South and Augusta will play at 6 p.m., Newton and Topeka at 4 p.m. and Hays and Salina South in the 2 p.m. game.
The tournament will run April 2 and 4, as well.

Contact Chris Swick by email at cswick@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow him on Twitter @SwickSentinel.