BY JIM MISUNAS
The McPherson Bullpups provided the perfect challenge for Great Bend’s soccer team.
Both teams misfired on empty goals in overtime as Great Bend tied McPherson 2-2 in a fiercely competitive match Thursday at Cavanaugh Field.
A few minutes after McPherson’s Josh Everhart missed an open goal, Panther defensive star Angel Razo had the last strike. But Razo’s potential game-winning goal bounced off the goal-post after goalie Nathan Floyd left the goal area as the 20-minute overtime period ended.
Great Bend's Humberto Alonzo and Francisco Garcia converted Panther goals. Alonzo connected with Garcia for a textbook give-and-go play at the 22:00-minute mark in the first half. Garcia converted a goal off a pass from Jaime Arellanes at the 11:13 mark of the first half.
It was a frustrating tie for the Panthers, who missed more scoring opportunities. The Panthers worked an effective short passing game to control time of possession.
“We played well and stuck to our game plan,” said Great Bend coach Jesus Loera. “There’s still room for improvement. We out-possess and outshoot our opponents. We need to finish plays and find the back of the net.”
McPherson goalie Nathan Lloyd saved the game for the Bullpups. Alonzo and Johnathon Pasos fed Garcia for several quality scoring chances. Lloyd turned back two other quality shots by Garcia and another try by Pasos.
“Credit goes to their goal-keeper, who made some magnificent saves to keep them in the game that first half,” Loera said.
Great Bend (8-7-1) will play the Andover Trojans (7-8-1) at 6 p.m. Tuesday on the artificial turf at Memorial Stadium in 5A regionals.
The Panthers won three post-season games after a similar effort against Dodge City last year. McPherson (13-2-1) inherits the fourth 5A seed in the West.
Moments before Razo’s agonizing miss, McPherson’s Everhart and Great Bend’s Johnathan Pasos, a stellar midfielder, were dispatched with red cards after a midfield altercation. Both players are suspended for the first game of postseason.
The Panthers had dictated an aggressive tempo with physical play, which drew numerous fouls and several yellow cards before the referee elevated the penalty to red cards.
The aggressive play came at a cost. Two fouls cost the Panthers two goals on penalty kicks.
Great Bend likely would’ve won, but McPherson’s Tyler Hoxie converted two penalty kicks off fouls at the 32:58 mark in the first half and 17:34 mark of the second half.
“Tyler Hoxie was the man of the match,” said McPherson coach Chris Adrian. “He played great in the midfield. His leadership in a tough environment impressed me.”
Panther defender Juan Sanchez blocked several quality scoring chances by McPherson.
The hotly-contested match was played in 40-degree temperatures with wind chills dipping into the low 30s.
Liberal 11-4-1 6-1-1
Dodge City 13-3 7-1
Great Bend 8-7-1 3-5
Garden City 7-8-1 3-4-1
Hays High 3-12-1 0-8
McPherson 2, Great Bend 2, tie
Dodge City 2, Liberal 0
Hays High 7, Hays-TMP 2
Arkansas City at Hays High
Andover High at Great Bend
Garden City at Wichita Heights
Hutchinson at Dodge City
Lawrence Free State at Liberal
DODGE CITY (13-3, 7-1)—Titan Classic (W Wichita East 3-1; L Wichita Heights 3-4, OT; W Liberal 3-2, OT); W Wichita South 9-1; W Lamar, Colo. 9-1; L *Liberal 1-3; W *Hays 4-0; W *Garden City 1-0; W *Great Bend 4-3; W *Garden City 5-0; W *Hays High 10-0; L St. Thomas Aquinas 0-4; W *Great Bend 4-1; W SM South 2-1; W Lawrence Free State 3-0; W *Liberal 2-0; Hutchinson
LIBERAL (11-4-1, 6-1-1)—Titan Classic (W Wichita Carroll 1-0; L Derby 2-0; L Dodge CIty 2-3, OT); W *Great Bend 2-0; W Dodge City 3-1; W Garden City 3-0; W Lamar, Colo. 10-0; W Hays-TMP 10-0; W *Hays High 8-0; TIE *Garden City 0-0, OT; W *Hays High 7-0; Wichita North Cup (W Wichita North 1-0; W 5-0 Wichita Trinity; L Wichita Heights 0-1); W *Great Bend 2-0; L *Dodge City 0-2
GREAT BEND (8-7-1, 3-5)—Titan Classic (L Wichita Southeast 2-3; W Wichita South 4-1; W Wichita West 6-0); W Salina Central 4-0; L *Liberal 0-2; W *Hays 4-0; L Manhattan 1-2, OT; W *Hays 2-0; L *Dodge City 3-4; L *Garden City 0-3; W Hays-TMP 10-0; W *Garden City 1-0; W Wichita Independent 11-1; L *Dodge City 1-4; L *Liberal 0-2; TIE McPherson 2-2
GARDEN CITY (7-8-1, 3-4-1)—Titan Classic (L Maize 3-4, OT; W Wichita NW 4-3; W Hays 3-1); *W Hays 2-1; W TMP 10-0; *L Liberal 0-3; L *Dodge City 0-1; W *Hays High 3-1; W *Great Bend 3-0; L *Dodge City 0-5; TIE *Liberal 0-0, OT; L *Great Bend 0-1; Wichita North Cup (L Wichita East 1-2; L Wichita Trinity 0-1, Wichita North 0-2); W TMP 10-1
HAYS HIGH (3-12-1, 0-8)—W Wichita Independent 4-1; W Classical 4-2; Titan Classic (L Classical 1-2; W Circle 10-0; L Garden City 1-2); L Salina Central 0-3; L * Garden City 1-3; L *Great Bend 0-4; L *Dodge City 0-4; L *Great Bend 0-2; L Buhler 0-5; L *Garden City 1-2; TIE Junction City 0-0, OT; L *Liberal 0-8; L *Dodge City 0-10; L *Liberal 0-7; W TMP 7-2