Andover Central High School girls soccer team got the rematch they were looking for, but for higher stakes. However, McPherson High School came through with another 2-1 victory over the Lady Jaguars on Thursday, advancing them to the finals of the McPherson Invitational, in which will be held on Friday.
McPherson was one starter short Thursday night. Mary Ann Wurm was unavailable as she had to travel with the McPherson orchestra. She won't return to the team until Monday. Freshman defender Giselle Jaimie stepped in for Wurm in her place and helped play a role in McPherson's young defense.
"Giselle Jaimie deserves a little bit of a shout out," Bullpups Head Coach Chris Adrian said. "We were down to two flip throwers, but there's always one in there when we needed one. We'll be probably looking for Jaimie to help us again with the outside backing against Maize South."
McPherson took the first lead in the first half led by Hannah Hageman's 35-yard free kick. Hageman also held her own as a midfielder, orchestrating plays and creating shots for the Lady Pups.
"She did a fantastic job in the midfield. Her set plays were key for us today—the free kicks and that goal, of course, and just positioning when in the ball," Adrian said.
McPherson outshot the Lady Pups 13-4. They had plenty of opportunities to score a few more goals but had to settle for one. The Lady Pups were able to keep Andover Central scoreless all through the first half.
The Lady Jags came back swinging midway through the second half when they tie the game up, 1-1.
Similar to their last meeting, it came down to the final stretch of the second half, but the only difference was that the Lady Jaguars were on the ropes.
At the 76th-minute mark, Kenzie Godwin, with the assist from Hageman, scored McPherson's second goal of the night, which would clinch the victory for the Lady Pups. McPherson's defense responded massively after giving up the last goal. Lakyn Schieferecke picked up four saves as goalkeeper.
"One of the core valleys of this team is perseverance, and we have seen that in three of our four games so far," Adrian said. "They just kept battling, gave up a goal and kept battling. Eventually Kenzie (Godwin) or Claire (Hedlund), I thought was going to get through.
The Bullpups now have their eyes on Maize South High School in the finals. Maize South is coming off an overtime thriller against Hays during its semifinals early on in the evening. Adrian is expecting a fierce battle against the Lady Mavericks, and want his Lady Pups to play to their strength Friday night.
"I think the strength of Maize South is that they have 11 players on the field that are all comfortable pass trapping. They are all athletic, and they got one or two that really stand out," Adrian said. "So if we can limit those two players, then we can do our thing. I think we have a good shot."
Kickoff of the McPherson Invitational Finals will be at 8 p.m. at McPherson Stadium.
Contact Peter Holland Jr. by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Petes_Picks_orour sports page @MacCountySports