GODDARD—The road to Spring Hill ended in Goddard for the McPherson High School boys soccer team. Goddard-Eisenhower High School was too much to handle for the Bullpups as they were shutout 7-0 on Tuesday's Class 5A quarterfinals, ending McPherson's season, and advancing the Tigers to the semifinals.
The Bullpups ended their season in a worse way possible. Things never went right after the Tigers scored on a controversial free-kick by Hunter Salinas. One of the officials blew a second whistle during the kick, which caught all the Bullpups off guard, and Salinas had an easy score on goalkeeper Nathan Lloyd. The Bullpups never recovered since that play.
"Right as he kicks simultaneously, our team thought it was a dead ball, and their guys played through it," McPherson's coach Chris Adrian said. "I'm guessing that was something they've been working on and been talked about that was going to happen before the game. We just fell asleep, and it kind of summed up the first half for us. We just got never got going today."
The Tigers kept doing damage on McPherson as they led 3-0 at halftime. Then just two minutes in the second half, Eisenhower scored again to make it 5-0. Then added two more goals for the rest of the half. The Bullpups had no answers the whole, having to settle for four shots on goal. Errors played a role in the Bullpups' downfall. Something that Adrian has not seen from McPherson all year. McPherson also has not been shutout, nor gave up no more than four goals this season.
"It was just unfortunate way to end for these guys because that team wasn't seven-goals better than us," Adrian said. "We caught a team on their day, and every mistake we've made, they capitalized on us. We made mistakes that we typically don't make. We can't do that against good teams like this, and they'll punish you for it."
The Bullpups finished the year with a 15-3-1 record. McPherson will be losing eight seniors on the roster going into next season.
Even though Adrian will have a decent amount of players such as Samy Jaime, Trenton Stecklein, Cody Achilles and Kaden Hargrave coming back, it's going to be hard to fill some holes as he will have to replace eight senior starters.
"This senior class has been something special," Adrian said. "You can see it on the sideline over here the emotions for these guys. I could've taken them out in the end, but I wanted them to play together as long as possible. They just love the game. They all are great friends. Playing together is what is all about, and for us, we talked about before the game. "
Eisenhower, still the only undefeated team left at 18-0-1 will take on Blue Valley Southwest (14-4-1) this Friday at 5 p.m. Maize South High School (16-2-1), which defeated Andover Central 4-2, will face Shawnee Heights (16-3)
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