By William

VALLEY CENTER – The goose egg is gone as the McPherson High boys soccer team finally scored their first win of the season with a 4-3 win over Valley Center on Tuesday in the first round of the Maize South Invitational.

“What a big win for the boys and one that should really boost their confidence,” noted Bullpup Head Coach Chris Adrian. “Conditions were tough as it was really cold on the field and very windy.”

It was a tough first half for the Bullpups as they played into the wind and though they did a nice job of limiting Valley Center’s attempts on goal, they did score off a corner kick to put McPherson down 0-1 at the halftime break.

The second half of play was an entire new game for the Bullpups as they hammered away for three goals with Josh Everhart and Connor Olson each scoring off an assist from Cody Achilles, while Caden Hardgrave added a third goal to suddenly give McPherson a 3-1 advantage just six minutes into the half.

“The boys came out hungry in the second half and played much more aggressive and with a sense of urgency they did not show in the first half,” explained Coach Adrian. “Josh (Everhart) got us on the board first only three minutes into the second half on a cross from Cody (Achilles) and then two minutes after that, it was Connor Olson’s turn to put in a rebound from close range. Almost immediately after that second goal, Caden (Hardgrave) score one of the goals of the season with a left footbed volley from a distance that just dipped over the goalkeeper reach.”

After Valley Center looked shell shocked, they came fighting back and tied the game at 3-3.

In the final ten minutes of the game, Caden Hardgrave intercepted a pass and then slid the ball inside to Cody Achilles who then scored what proved to be the winning goal.

For the game, the Bullpups hammered away at the Valley Center goalkeeper for 15 total shots while the Bullpups keeper, Kelvin Peterson earned much credit as well as he picked up five saves in the game while getting his first win as a varsity goalkeeper.

Coach Adrian concluded his post-game comments by saying, “This game was massive for the boys and a great way to get their first win of the season. Cody (Achilles) and Caden (Hardgrave) had excellent games and created so many scoring chances. Josh (Everhart) did a great job coming off the bench and giving the team a spark when they really needed it while Connor (Olson) also had a really good second half and showed what he can do in the midfield with his creativity. Kelvin (Peterson) also deserves a shoutout for making some big time saves and getting his first varsity win in goal.”

The Bullpup kickers will be back in Valley Center for round two of the Maize South Invitational on Thursday against an opponent unknown at press time.

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