ANDOVER— It came down to a penalty kick, and it went toward the favor of the McPherson High School girls soccer team as they picked up their first road win over Andover Central High School, 2-1, after a strong second-half performance.
The first half was a struggle for the Lady Pups as they continued to find their offensive rhythm. The Jaguars provided an aggressive defense on McPherson, but both teams went scoreless in the first half. Lakyn Schieferecke was active in front of the net as she produced seven saves in the first half, and would finish the night 10 saves.
"This game was a tale of two halves. In the first half, Andover Central was the dominant team. They were more aggressive and put us under a lot of pressure," Bullpups' Head Coach Chris Adrian said. "Lakyn Schieferecke made seven saves in the first half alone and kept us in the game. She was incredible."
In the second half, the Bullpups started to pick it up, but it was still anyone's game. McPherson was on the board first after Kenzie Godwin connected with Jaycee Burghart. The Bullpups recorded 10 shots on goal the whole match.
"The second half was a different story. The girls came out with a chip on their shoulder after being outhustled in the first forty minutes and started winning and challenging 50-50 balls," Adrian said. "The team had several good looks in the second half, and finally Jaycee Burghart was able to break through and score after a nice pass from Kenzee Godwin.
Momentum shifted when the Lady Jaguars responded with a corner kick that would tie the game. It was crunch time for the Bullpups with five minutes left. Of course, Andover Central had the advantage, but the Bullpups' defense, with the combination of seniors and freshmen on the field, didn't press the panic button and kept fighting with steady composure.
"Our defense of (Lauren) Hein, (Michaela) Bowers, (Mary Ann) Wurm, and (Daphne) Carrillo looked much more comfortable and played aggressively," Adrian said. "We also had some key contributions from the ninth graders: Sydney Achilles, Lauren Labertew, and Olivia Rodriguez. After giving up the goal, I was eager to see how the team would respond."
Two minutes left, the Bullpups were on the run. Godwin dribbles down to the tackle box where she was tripped, which resulted in a penalty kick. Hannah Hageman stepped in and scored on the top corner that would close the deal for the Bullpups. McPherson escaped under pressure, and in a hostile environment.
"It was a great win against another good opponent. This team showed a lot of grit and toughness tonight," Adrian said." I’m proud of the way the girls competed this week after the crazy start to the season. We now get to look forward to the tournament next week."
McPherson will host their annual McPherson Invitational next Tuesday at 2 p.m.. Schools that will be participating are Andover Central, Augusta, Hays, Maize South, Newton, Salina South and Topeka.
Contact Peter Holland Jr. by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @Petes_Picks_orour sports page @MacCountySports