STERLING — The purpose of playing a tough non-conference schedule, McPherson College men’s soccer coach Doug Quint believes, is to prepare the Bulldogs for KCAC play.
Mac was just 1-4 in the preseason leading up to the KCAC, but most of the losses were by narrow margins to nationally ranked teams or teams considered on the cusp of greatness.
That paid off for the Bulldogs on Wednesday when they began KCAC play with a decided 4-0 domination of Sterling.
“This was certainly a great way to start off the conference season," Quint said. "Sterling is a tough place to play and they came out with a lot of emotion tonight. We did a very good job of staying composed and keeping our emotions in check. Our back line was tremendous today.”
Sterling certainly didn’t back down from the Bulldogs, who have been a perennial KCAC contender.
“Sterling had a very aggressive game plan today," Quint said. "They were flying into a lot of tackles in an attempt to use their physicality to dictate the pace of play. There was a point in time during the first half, though, where we had them under a ton of pressure and really started to break their lines.”
Mac jumped on the Warriors with three first-half goals. Erik Espinoza started the scoring, followed by Tyler Minney. Jared Robbins cleaned it up from there with the final two goals.
Three of the four goals were unassisted. Hernan Maldonado had the only Mac assist.
The Bulldogs had a 19-7 advantage in shots. Jose Alonso picked up the win in goal for the Bulldogs.
• Sterling women 3, McPherson College 0 — The Bulldogs won the shot battle, 18-14, but the Warriors won the goal battle as Mac was on the wrong side of the score to begin KCAC play and is now 3-3 overall.
“I'm disappointed with today's result," Mac coach Mark Olson said. "We did not play with much discipline and made some simple mistakes that they capitalized on. Despite that, we were still able to create scoring opportunities but were not able to finish."
The Warriors scored all their goals in the second half, all by Elena Lemus.
Both Mac teams are home on Saturday to take on Tabor, with the women starting at 12:30 and the men starting at 3. The games are to be played at The Kennel (the grass field east of the stadium) unless the fields are deemed to wet, which would move them on to the McPherson Stadium pitch.