McPHERSON — One down, two more to go for the McPherson High School girls’ soccer team after shutting out Hays High School 6-0 in the Class 4A quarterfinals on Tuesday.
McPherson struggled offensively due to the Indians’ pressure on defense. It was starting to look like a defensive game after going scoreless 30 minutes in the first half.
“We executed our strategy well. We were just trying to play five minutes at a time and keep McPherson off the board,” Hays head coach Silas Hibbs said.
The Indians’ goalkeeper, Isabel Robben, didn’t give the Lady Pups an inch as she recorded 14 saves, despite the 18 shots on goal. She also sought playing time as their striker later on in the game.
“I wish I have two of her. She can play striker, and she can play goalkeeper. She’s a phenomenal goalie,” Hibbs said.
However, the Indians were not able to get much of a scoring opportunity as they only recorded three shots on goal. And it was just a matter of time before McPherson get its first goal of the night, and yet, the offense was not able to get it done.
“Sometimes the best defense is a great offense. With McPherson’s pressure and ability to swing the ball and kind of keep the throttle defensively, it’s hard for us to touch the ball.” Hibbs said.
After reaching the 13-minute mark, McPherson finally scored its first goal of the night after Jessie Kynaston found Kenzee Godwin. Jaycee Burghart gave the Lady Pups their second goal with five minutes left in the first half. Just like that, the Lady Pups had a 2-0 lead at halftime, and they never looked back.
“That was the key. You could tell that we were a little bit uncomfortable from the start because no one has set up against us like that,” MHS head coach Chris Adrian said. “Once we started to have those girls keep attacking the space, making someone commit and finding the pass, we did a much better job getting around and score.”
“The first goal was so important because then they have to change. They weren’t able to score a goal, and most likely the way they were set up and have to put some players forward, and once they did that, then we have more space,” Adrian added.
In the second half, the Lady Pups dominated the rest of the evening after scoring four goals. Three of them came from Anna Nason coming off the bench. The third goal was set up by Stacey Pham that would lead to Nason’s hat trick that would later close out the victory for McPherson.
“We got so many weapons that can score, but for her to come and score a hat trick, that’s got to give her so much confident going forward,” Adrian said.
Hays couldn’t find any answers to get back into the game. In result, the Indians became the 12th team to be shutout by the Lady Pups this season. McPherson has outscored its opponents 26-0 in the postseason.
“McPherson is a phenomenal team. They have a lot of great athletes. They are well coached, and sometimes you have to give kudos to the other team and say they are a little too much for us,” Hibbs said.
McPherson will move on to the semifinals at 5 p.m. against Bishop Miege High School at Bethel College. Hays ends its season at 11-6-1.