One practice and less than 48 hours is all the McPherson High soccer team had to get ready for the defending 4-1A State Champions, after a heartbreaking double overtime loss to Newton to start the season.
The Bullpups will heavily rely on a core of seniors, including Andric McGill, Patrick Munsey and Hadley Hageman to boost the team atmosphere and make sure the rest of the guys are ready to go.
Munsey made two pinpoint passes to McGill for the only two goals of the 2016 season so far, while Hageman is the clear leader on defense, and has a beautiful deep ball.
If the Pups need someone to step up and take a huge free kick, it will probably be Hageman.
Rose Hill makes a visit to McPherson College on Thursday, in what should be the premiere game in 4-1A, and perhaps even the state for the night.
“We are going to make a few adjustments from our last game, which will hopefully help us attack with more numbers,” Head Coach Chris Adrian said. “I think we are going to come out and play even better, and with more confidence, than we did against Newton.”
Rose Hill lost nine seniors from a 20-0-1 2015 season, and sits at 0-2 after a pair of loses to Coffeyville and Maize South.
“I think we are going to stack up well against Rose Hill,” Adrian said. “They graduated the majority of their starters from last year, but are still going to be a quality side no doubt.”
The Rockets should not be underestimated, as they have won the last two state championships, and haven’t lost more than three games in a year since 2013.
“Rose Hill is coming off a game that was shortened due to lightning, and we are coming off a game the was lengthened due to overtime,” Adrian said. “I have no doubt the boys will be physically and mentally prepared for Rose Hill. They have beaten us the last two years, and that doesn’t sit well with our juniors and seniors.”
This is a huge game for both teams, as both programs have high expectations, which do not include winless starts to the season.
“We had six players getting their first varsity starts in the last game,” Adrian said. “To get that first game out of the way, and under their belts, is huge.”
The schedule doesn’t get any easier after Rose Hill, as the Bullpups face Thomas More Prep Academy on Tuesday, Sept. 6, in the always challenging Maize South Invitational.
Game time for the Rose Hill game has been moved up by a couple of hours to accommodate for McPherson College football practice, and will begin with the junior varsity at 4 p.m., followed by the varsity at 5:30 p.m.