FORT WORTH, Texas – Some would consider a lineup with one senior, three juniors and seven sophomores grounds for a rebuilding season.
For Marcus (Flower Mound, Texas), it’s viewed as the start of something special.
Sophomores delivered all five of the team’s goals Friday as the Marauders pulled off two nationally impressive shutout wins in less than eight hours at the National Elite Prep Showcase. SIMA FAB 50 No. 26 Marcus first defeated perennial California power No. 49 Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) 3-0, then ended a 33-match undefeated streak by No. 2 Coppell (Coppell, Texas) in a 2-0 contest.
“They have talent, focus, drive, and they are hungry,” Marcus coach Chad Hobbs said of the sophomore class, six of whom started last year as freshmen. “To do what they did today, it legitimatizes what we are doing. It shows them that we can play with anybody in the state, anybody the nation.”
Taylor Moon, a Baylor commit, scored the first two goals, then assisted one by Kaity Hemperly in Marcus’ win over Santa Margarita, which had won nine of its previous 10 matches before travelling to Texas. Alabamacommit Riley Mattingly and Baylor commit Maddison Algya scored in the nightcap win over Coppell, handing the Cowgirls their first loss since the 2014 playoffs.
Through Friday’s play, Marcus is one of three teams at 3-0 in the 34-team event, along with SIMA FAB 50 No. 1 Southlake Carroll (Southlake, Texas) and No. 7 Byron Nelson (Trophy Club, Texas).
BIG-TIME CLASH:Neaka Khalilian’s goal 20 seconds before half proved to be a back-breaker as SIMA FAB 50 No. 1 Southlake Carroll defeated Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) 2-0.
The match had major national ranking implications as Southlake needed the win to stay No. 1 and Montverde was looking for a victory to up its own ranking, not to mention help justify other Florida teams, as well.
Montverde controlled play the first 20 minutes, then Southlake took over, leading to an Alexandria Griffin with 7:30 left in the half. Just as it was appearing to be a 1-0 halftime score, Sydney Nobles made a run on the right wing, and sent a pass back to Khalilian, whose strike toward the left post went unchallenged by the Montverde keeper.
“They had the better of play the first 15-20 minutes, then we made some adjustments,” Southlake coach Matt Colvin said. “We stepped the midfield up because we were getting too far back. Once we did that, we started to put [Montverde] under pressure.”
“In the first 20 minutes, we needed to score,” Montverde Academy coach Robbie Aristodemo said. “We needed someone to step up and finish, and we didn’t get it.”
SCORING FRENZY: Two nationally ranked teams were locked in a defensive struggle – then the second half started. Sachse (Sachse, Texas) rallied from three two-goal deficits to stun Hebron (Hebron, Texas) 5-4 on Friday in a match were the teams combined for eight goals in a 20-minute stretch.
Hebron held leads of 2-0, 3-1 and 4-2 before Sachse closed out the match with the last three scores for the hockey-like final. Jordan Harr scored two of the last three goals, including the game winner.
MORE GOOSE EGGS: Friday was a bit more of a scorefest, yet there were still 24 shutouts in the 31 matches played. Overall, that puts the two-day total at 38 shutouts in 47 matches.