By William

SALINA – Being a young team like they are, the McPherson boys soccer team expected to struggle at times and they are still finding their footing as they lost for the second time this season on Tuesday when Salina South beat the Bullpups 4-2 on the road in Salina.

Giving the young Bullpups an extra thought or two going into the game, Head Coach Chris Adrian was not at the game due to him and his wife having a new baby.

With assistant coach Martin Marfo in charge of the team on Tuesday, Cody Achilles put the Bullpups on the scoreboard for the first time this season with a goal off an assist from Gavinn Henry in the first half to give McPherson a 1-0 lead. Salina South was able to tie the game at 1-1 before they reached the halftime break.

“The team was very prepared to get back and compete with the hopes of securing their first win of the season,” noted Coach Marfo. “They came out extraordinarily strong and determined and we took our best game to Salina South in the first 20-minutes of the first half as we looked dangerous on the ball. We were able to get the first goal by Cody (Achilles) on an assist from Gavinn (Henry) after Cody broke free from the Salina high line and slotted it past the keeper. While we hoped to hang to the lead going into halftime, Salina South gathered pace and with high pressure on our back line, they were able to equalize with us with about seven minutes left in the half.”

Salina South came out playing strong offense in the second half and scored three more goals before the Bullpups were able to put another ball in the net when Caden Hargrave scored off an assist from Connor Olson with about five minutes of play left on the clock.

Regarding the second half of play, Coach Marfo added, “We started to play with high intensity, but Salina South seemed to match us with their high pressure which forced our players to make errors. It stayed balanced for most of the second half as both teams continued to find spaces to get that second goal. While South figured out a way to break our defensive line with a great through ball on our left side to get their second goal, it came after our keeper Kelvin (Peterson) came out big with some great saves to keep us in the game.”

Speaking of Kelvin Peterson, the coaches said he did an outstanding job in goal by stopping five shots as Salina South peppered him constantly with shots.

Overall, the Bullpups did have a total of five shots on goal which was noted as an improvement over the game they played on Saturday.

Assistant Coach Marfo concluded his reflections of the game by saying, “Our team showed great spirit and fought extremely hard to rescue the game but just wasn’t able to have the night we were hoping to have. We did see a huge improvement from the previous game, and we plan to build off that going into the next game and hopefully secure our first win of the season.”

In the junior varsity game, the Bullpups scored a 3-1 victory over Salina South with goals being scored by Josh Everhart, Gavinn Henry and Adolf Ontiveros. Ben Rodriquez and Connor Eickbush had assists on two of the goals.

Next up for the Bullpup kickers will be on Tuesday, September 8th when they compete in the first round of the Maize South Invitational where their first two matches will be played at Valley Center.

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