The last thing the McPherson High School boys soccer team would want is a stunning lost, especially on Senior Night. Yet, it was the adversity the Bullpups needed with two more games left before regionals.
After down 1-0, the Bullpups put away Hutchinson High School with three straight goals, defeating the Salthawks 3-1. The Bullpups now improve to 11-2 on the season and extended their winning streak to five.
The Bullpups were in a defensive battle with Hutchinson in the first half. McPherson had the edge in shots on goals but caught off guard on the aggression by Hutchinson. The match ended up scoreless at the half. Five minutes into the second, the Salthawks were on the board.
"I was very honest with them. I thought Hutch wanted it more, "Bullpups Head coach Chris Adrian said. "I thought they were playing harder and winning the hustle plays in which we pride ourselves."
Adrian had to make some adjustments while figuring out how to keep the Salthawks off balance. Having Cody Achilles in the second half did help as he returned from a cross country meet. Adrian also gave props to Hutchinson for defending Bullpup top scorer Drew Schrader.
"Although we gave up a goal, we responded really well to that," Adrian said. "We didn't panic, and we moved some players around. They were doing a good job of limiting Drew Schrader, and we had him out wide to try to give him some opportunities there, and we weren't able to get him involved."
The Bullpups finally got going midway through the second half after the first goal by Britton Haigh, with the assist from Samy Jaime. Schrader finally worked his magic by adding two more goals to put away Hutchinson for good. The Bullpups recorded 13 shots on goal, while Hutch only had four. One of the adjustments Adrian made was moving Haigh to midfield.
"We put him in the midfield, and that's when Hutch had a tough decision on how to defend Drew," Adrian said about Schrader. "That opened up space for Samy (Jaime), Jael (Jaime) and moving Britton (Haigh) to that forward position. He looked really good and had some fresher legs up there for us."
After the win, Adrian made a reflection on his seven seniors, who were honored before kickoff.
"They deserve this," Adrian said. "This senior group has been something special. Not just this year, but these last four years with them—it seems like it has been flying by. I remember when they were freshmen, and some of them were making their first starts out here. So I'm really happy for them, and I'm just proud as a coach to see them have that success because I know how hard they worked to win these types of games, and I'm just happy for them."
The Bullpups have two road matches left before the start of regionals. McPherson will take on Augusta High School on Tuesday, and then Great Bend on Thursday. Both will be at 6:30 p.m.
Contact Peter Holland Jr. by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter@Petes_Picks_