Head Coach Chris Adrian of the McPherson High School girls soccer team wanted his Lady Pups to be a first half team instead of struggling in the first half and picking up in the second. McPherson proved that in day one of the McPherson Invitational when they shut out Augusta High School 8-0 in the opening round, advancing the Lady Bullpups to the semifinals.
The Bullpups didn't waste any time striking first on the board. It was only 14 seconds after kickoff when Claire Hedlund scored her fourth goal of the season with the assist by Anna Nason. A minute later, Belle Alexander was on the board to give the Bullpups a 2-0 lead. At the 29-minute mark, Lauren Labertew and Nason picked up two more goals to end the first half. Adrian was amazed in how the Bullpups responded the challenge after struggling in the first half in the last two games thus far.
"It was a great start.The first two games we struggled in the first half. We've been great second half, and the message before this game was, 'hey, let's be a first half team today,'" Adrian said. "To score within the 14 seconds of the kickoff, I don't think you can do much better than that. We just kept the pressure on them after the first goal.
The Bullpups continued to be an offensive juggernaut after adding four more goals to complete their impressive start of the tournament. Jaycee Burghart and Kenzie Godwin each picked up a goal in the second half. Then Catalina Palacios and Megan Everhart topped it off with the last two goals in the final 10 minutes of the second half.
The Bullpups recorded 18 shots on goal over Augusta. Nason, who had a strong performance in the assist category, recorded three assists for McPherson. Lakyn Schieferecke recorded three saves and avoided getting scored on the whole night. Not only did Adrian credited his offense for being a strike force, he also credited their defensive efforts by Mary Ann Wurm and Lauren Labertew.
"This was a great game for our attack. To start and get our rhythm, and some chemistry together.... We played two good defensive teams in Andover Central and Salina South that limited are attack," Adrian said. "Today you get to see our front three in Anna Nason, Kenzee (Godwin) and Claire (Hedlund) just doing what they do best. Their movements today was really good.
"Our defenders tonight were just comfortable with the ball,"he continued. "I thought Mary Ann Wurm and Lauren Labertew had their two best games in the season. We've been working with them in how we get to attack with them.
Now 3-0, the Bullpups will get a one-day rest before they return to McPherson Stadium on Thursday night at 8 p.m. when they revisit Andover Central a week after beating the Lady Jaguars on the road, 2-1. Winner will advance to the finals to take on the winner of the Hays-Maize South match.
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