Not the way Chris Adrian wanted his McPherson High School girls soccer team to perform overall, but after avoiding a 2-0 shutout, with a second half goal, the Lady Pups ran out of time and fell short to Maize South High School, 2-1. The Lady Mavericks won the McPherson Invitational for the second year in a row on Friday night.

The Lady Mavericks were in control of the game in the first half, and the defense shut down the McPherson in any attempts in scoring. With 20 minutes left, Maize South was on the board first led by its soccer star Angela Palmer. The Bullpups went scoreless at the end of the first half. Both teams were even with two shots on goal.

The Lady Mavericks remained steady in the second half. Palmer also remained a problem for the Bullpups' defense that was not only down one defender in Mary Ann Wurm, but Michaela Bowers also sat out for the rest the second half due to a quad injury. Maize South took advantage against a young defensive team. Palmer scored her second goal of the night to give Maize South a comfortable 2-0 lead with 20 minutes left in the second half. All the momentum went to the Lady Mavericks' side as the Lady Pups struggled to find their rhythm and had to play catch-up ball.

McPherson was down, but not out. The Lady Pups started to wake up when they were finally on the board. Hannah Hageman nailed a rocket launched 37-foot goal to avoid a shut out at the 10-minute mark. After the goal, the game got physical from both sides, but McPherson started to take more shot attempts, making five attempts in the second half.

"After that, we were all over them," Adrian said. “Those two corner kicks, all we need is that touch, and it just didn't follow to us. When it did, Maize South blocked on the shot. I think that if we hit that gear a little sooner, I think we could've got that second goal."

Maize South utilized its speed to keep making open look shots to finish the Bullpups off. As for the Bullpups, down to the final drive, McPherson had opportunities on two corner kicks to tie the game but failed. Maize South held on and escaped with the win due to its defensive efforts. The Bullpups outshot the Lady Mavs 7-3, but still fell behind as time was ran out.

"You got to give credit to Maize South. To get them in position to score those goals takes talent and good passing and they have the players to do that," Adrian said. "Defensively, we got to learn a little bit better, having to deal with those. To not give up those breakaways.

"We saw a team without fear, and I think they learned a good lesson. They know that they can play hard and play aggressive," Adrian continued. "The way we finished that game was definitely a positive take from this.”

After the game, the Lady Mavericks received the McPherson Invitational trophy and Palmer was named MVP after her two-goal performance. Four Bullpups made the All-tournament team: Jaycee Burghart, Claire Hedlund, Anna Nason and Hageman all represented McPherson.

The Bullpups now fall to 4-1of the year. They will travel on the road to take on Circle High School in their league opener on Tuesday, Apr. 2 at 6:30 p.m.

MVP

Angela Palmer Maize South

All-Tournament Team

Megan Crist Newton

Jaycee Burghart McPherson

Claire Hedlund McPherson

Anna Nason McPherson

Morgan Fischer Salina South

Brooke Renshaw Salina South

Isabel Robben Hays

Hannah Hageman McPherson

Carolina Robben Hays

Natalie Amaya Maize South

Sierra Amaya Maize South

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