It was a dogfight between McPherson High School girls soccer team and Circle High School at Thursday night’s game. Despite the Lady Pups putting up 25 shots on goal, the Lady Pups only scored one goal the entire night, ending in a 1-1 draw.
Circle showed no fear in attempting to upset McPherson on their home turf. Both teams were playing aggressively: physical contact was made, and penalties were called, tensions were high from both teams. The fans who came out saw a tough battle.
"I was proud of the fight. ... I told the girls at the end that we all played this game long enough to know that soccer is like the most frustrating, stupidest sport ever, just because you would have something like this happen," McPherson head coach Chris Adrian said after the game.
The Lady Pups were frustrated when they were not able to get any points on the board, even with 25 shot attempts. Circle's goalkeeper Ashley Soderlund wouldn't give up as she recorded an outstanding 16 saves.
"We didn't do the best job with our shot selection. At times where we took some difficult shots from distance, sometimes that led to the goalkeeper getting it. It's just one of those games where you shake your head a little bit at the end," Adrian said.
Aislinn Hughes finally put points on the board after 11 minutes into the game, but the Thunderbirds wouldn't go away after that.
"I think what we were trying to do is see how good she (Soderlund) really is and see if she would fumble a couple times. It was so tough because their defense was so compact in the middle. It's hard when you are shooting out wide and when you are shooting from the corner," Hughes said.
Circle was finally on the board only 10 minutes into the second half, with a point scored by Lainey Perez. Then, the Lady Pups had to figure out how to slow the Thunderbirds.
"We’ve got to do a better job of breaking a team down with possession, movement and passing, and not just speed. We have beaten a lot of teams just because we were faster than them so we get around outside, but they (Circle) were really solid, organized soccer, and defense," Adrian said.
Two minutes after Circle scored, the Lady Pups had another chance in regaining the lead. Kenzee Godwin hit a header into the net and that was supposed to be McPherson's second goal of the night. However, the goal was called back and the referee penalized Godwin for interference inside the tackle box. Adrian and the McPherson crowd didn't like a questionable call and it led to an overtime.
Both teams battled during overtime. McPherson made more shots than Circle but still couldn’t get past Soderlund to score. The same would go when they went into double overtime. The Thunderbirds were full of energy and confidence, knowing that they felt they could've beat McPherson.
"It's always tough when you are going into overtime because you’re physically and mentally tired. We just had to stay calm and comfortable ... because possession is key. We were focused on just getting outside to break the defense down," Hughes said.
The Lady Pups are now 4-1-1 of the season. Next game will be at 6:30 p.m. at home on April 10 where they will face Buhler Hugh School.
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