Four years in a row, the McPherson High School girls soccer team claimed the Class 4A Division-I Regional Championship after shutting out Andover Central High School 6-0 in their home turf on Thursday.
It may be the Lady Pups 12th shutout this season, and the second time they beat the Lady Jaguars, head coach Chris Adrian knew Andover Central would be a challenge for his Lady Pups now they are moving on to the state tournament. For McPherson, according to Adrian, their win over Central was as good as it gets.
"Andover Central is a good team," Adrian said. "This was a good test for us, and just like I told the girls after the game, we executed the plan for this game."
McPherson, like most of their games this season, has got into a fast start after scoring two goals in 10 minutes. The first goal came off the assist of Kenzee Godwin to Jessie Kynaston. Less than five minutes left to end the half, McPherson was on the board again after Michaela Bower's flip throw to Aislinn Hughes that lead to a header for the Lady Pups. Corner kicks and flip throws have been McPherson's bread and butter all year when it comes to setting up shots on goal. Thursday's game was no different.
"We knew we could be dangerous on the corner kicks and flip throws, and man we were today," Adrian said. "We also had some good combination that we've been practicing on, so for me it's great to see what we are practicing coming off games and to jump on them early like we did was the key."
Bowers's flip throw to Hughes exemplified the team chemistry McPherson has with one another. Hughes would know where the ball was heading once the ball is in the air, and she took advantage of it with her headshot on goal. Four of McPherson's goals were off of Bower's front flip.
"She does a great job just putting it at the right spot. I just know where it was going. I don't know how she does it," Hughes said. "It's just incredible and has been the most dangerous attacks that we have this season. It's great that we have her."
The Lady Pups scored three more goals in the second half. The third goal was from Godwin again as she scored her second goal of the night. Claire Hedlund would follow it up the minutes later. Kynaston would've gotten her second goal of the evening as well, but the ball was deflected, leading to Central's own goal.
Andover Central may have been trailing big and going scoreless, they kept fighting and created contact collisions with the Lady Pups the entire game. One goal for the Lady Jags could've changed everything according to Adrian.
"You have to give them a lot of credit for the way they came out in the second half. They made some adjustments in the first 10 minutes," Adrian said. "We totally weathered that storm because they've been playing really tough. If they could've got that first goal, for them before we got the fourth, it could've changed the game, but once we got that fourth goal, that kinda sealed the deal."
With regionals out of the way, McPherson now can focus on making it the State finals after coming up short in the last four years.
"I'm super excited, especially as a senior to get that fourth regional championship is awesome. We're just looking toward our next game and getting ready for State," Hughes said.
Quarterfinals will be on Next Tuesday, May 22, as the Lady Pups will have their eyes on Hays High School, who are coming off a triple-overtime win over Mulvane High School 2-1. Kickoff will be at 6 p.m. at McPherson Stadium.
Contact Peter Holland Jr. by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter@Petes_Picks_or our sports page @MacCountySports