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Lady Spartans fall 4-0 to Indians

Marion is Solon’s Little Big Horn
Solon senior Brianna Smith and Marion senior Olivia Jones get physical battling for an edge in possession of the ball during the Lady Spartans’ 4-0 loss to the Indians at Marion High School on Tuesday, April 10. (photos by Jeff Hess)

MARION– “Sometimes the magic works, sometimes it doesn’t,” or so said Old Lodge Skins in the 1970s movie, “Little Big Man,” a comical fictionalization of the lone survivor of the Battle of Little Big Horn. The Lady Spartans, third place in the WaMaC East, moved to 1-1 on the season Tuesday, April 10, following a windswept 4-0 defeat by the second-place WaMac West Marion Indians on the grass at the Marion High School soccer field, just up the hill from the high school.
It was the Lady Spartans’ first foray in competition on a grass field in the 2018 season and, accustomed to the turf of Spartan Stadium, they appeared to be just a tick shy of the speed of the Indians as they spent much of the game defending their goal.
“That was our first game on grass. Marion practices there every day and is used to it. We struggled,” Coach John Tucker commented via email. “Marion was just a little quicker to the ball than we were and played more physical than we were. We have some things to work on before we play Beckman,”
Marion lept out to a 1-0 lead in the first few minutes of the game and extended the lead to 2-0 on a penalty kick with a little more than 20 minutes remaining in the first half. Although they spent much of the first 20 minutes defending, the Lady Spartans mustered an unsuccessful assault on the Indians’ goal. Solon defended its goal against three more attempted shots and made it past midfield several times, but only mustered one additional attempt on the Indian’s goal before the horn ending the first half.
The Indians had the wind to their back for the second half and it appeared the Spartans would make a stand, turning away another shot on goal by the Indians and mounting another denied assault on Marion’s goal with a little less than 12 minutes gone in the second half.
“The winds were not as much an issue as we just weren’t prepared for the tight pressure that Marion put on us,” Tucker said. “We never really got into a rhythm and could put passes together.”
With a little more than 20:15 remaining in the game, the Lady Spartans were unable to repel another onslaught, allowing the Indians a 3-0 lead. Solon repelled another attack from the Indians with a little over six minutes remaining in the game, but fell to the constant pressure with a little over 2:45 remaining for the final score of the game, putting Marion out, 4-0.
Marion moved to 2-0 for the season preparing to host Vinton-Shellsburg on Friday, April 13.
Solon’s Chandler DeWitt and Megan Tucker spent much of the game trying to turn back the Indians’ assaults on the goal while Brenna Gogel stood tall in the box. Gogel clocked all 80 minutes of the game in the goal, allowing four and saving six.
Sylvia Havlicek recorded two shots on goal; Grace Keith, Taylor Noonan and Brianna Smith each had one attempt on the goal.
The Lady Spartans sat at 1-1 preparing to host the Beckman Catholic Trailblazers on Friday, April 13.
“Beckman likes to send long balls over the top.” Coach Tucker said. “We are going to try to stop that pass from happening in the first place. And when they do get the ball over, we are going to need to work together well to defend it. Offensively, we need to do a better job of keeping possession and working our passes.”
“We are actually still trying to find ourselves, whether home or away.” Coach Tucker maintained. “With the weather being what it has been, we have not had a real good opportunity to get on the field and work our offense. We have also not been able to put the same people on the field at the same time, which throws off what little cohesiveness we have had. I’m not making excuses, it just is the way it is. Most of these girls have not played together in the positions I have them in now, so we are still working out the communication and cooperation needed to be successful.”
Further reflecting on the impending schedule, Coach Tucker asserted, “We are going to have six games in nine days; it is going to be grueling to say the least. I’ll likely do a little more subbing than usual. But again, we need the time together on the field to work on our team play. So I’ll have to manage that well.”