BUHLER — Chris Adrian’s first loss ever to Buhler as a McPherson High soccer coach was a painful one.
The Bullpups were edged by the arch-rival Crusaders 2-1 on Tuesday in a match that most likely determined the AVCTL champion.
“Tough loss tonight for sure,” said Adrian, who has been MHS coach for eight years. “Statistically, we did well taking three times as many shots, had a 5-to-1 advantage on corner kicks and had 61 percent possession of the ball. Unfortunately Buhler got us when it comes to the only stat that matters and that's goals scored. It’s not how much of the ball you have that matters, it’s what you do with it.”
The Bullpups’ only goal came with 15 minutes left in the game by Devin Cape, assisted by Britton Haigh.
“I was really proud of the effort the boys gave tonight, especially after such a quick turnaround playing the night before,” Adrian said. “I took a risk late in the first half leaving a few players in the game that were getting tired and then again midway through the second half when we looked like scoring, and unfortunately we then got tired in key areas on the field which left us vulnerable. I’ve simply got to do a better job of managing the fitness of the players in these types of games.”
The outcome was determined late as the Crusaders scored both their goals.
“They say you are always most vulnerable after you score and that proved to be the case,” Adrian said. “About a minute after our goal, a bit of panic and miscommunication in the back gave Buhler a chance and they took it. We then got caught by Buhler’s speed after a long clearance got through our back line, resulting in a breakaway with 3 minutes left in the game. The heartbreaking manner in which we lost this game will do one of two things to this team. Either they will come to practice tomorrow with their heads down feeling sorry for themselves, or they will show up early to practice with a fire burning ready to work at improving so this type of result doesn’t happen again. I’ve got a good hunch I know what kind of response I’m going to get from the team tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it.”
The loss dropped MHS to 9-4 on the season and it won’t have much time to dwell on it as the Bullpups host Valley Center on Thursday.
The Bullpup JVs came away with a 3-1 win as Luke Brossard scored two goals and Cody Achilles had the other. Florian Gergs and Cael Bauer had an assist apiece.