Sports

Tomahawks caught sleeping — Marysville's stingy defense gives up two early goals en route to loss

SNOHOMISH — Soccer matches are rarely decided in the first 12 minutes, especially for coach Gary Riozzi's girls.

Nevertheless, Marysville-Pilchuck suffered a pair of goals to Wesco Conference rival Snohomish just after the 10-minute mark Tuesday, September 29 and was forced into the unfamiliar situation of an uphill battle.

"There's no excuses for a start like that," Riozzi said of his Tomahawks. "If you don't get your feet wet early on, it's hard to catchup."

Just like the Panthers' first goal — a fortunate placement by junior midfielder Shelby Beeman inside the goal box, catching the Tomahawk defense off guard — a game decided in the first half was a surprise to say the least. Riozzi's club has seen three matches decided in overtime, and with a 4-2-1 record, the Tomahawks have allowed two or more scores just twice this season.

"I think the first goal was a surprise to everyone — even the girl who shot it," Riozzi said.

The Panthers' second score was no mistake, however, as sophomore Annie Hund's initial strike was deflected and not cleared, leaving her a chance to rebound and finish what she started. The second score seemed to awake the Marysville offense, as it controlled the flow of play from that point to halfway into the second half, playing balls to the feet.

"We've really been working on trying to maintain that possession and hitting girls in the feet. I thought we did a much better job of that in the second half and played better overall then. They'd get us caught up in their kick-and-run style of play and we'd lose our head," Riozzi said.

Although being more competitive throughout the middle 40 minutes, Marysville didn't have much to show for it until the 67th minute, when a shot by Mady Schoonover on the left edge of the penalty area had to be punched over the net to maintain Snohomish's clean sheet.

"Mady is a tough character to mark," Riozzi said. "She adds a whole different dimension to our attack."

But that effort proved to be for naught when senior captain Kiely Cordon's through ball found Lauren Nolte alone near the penalty mark. Catching the defense off-guard, Kiely's pass exposed keeper Ashley Holten, who attempted a diving stop, but Cordon's right-footed strike bested Holten's effort. The goal was Holten's third of the season. Marysville's score put life back into Marysville's attack, as it had one chance to even the score, but was unable to capitalize.

Overall, Riozzi was pleased with his team's output and looking forward to bettering its record against Monroe on Thursday.

"It's like I said, 2-1 is much more respectable than being shutout," he said. "I was hoping to be 5-1-1, and had a couple mental letdowns gone the other way and this match could have gone quite differently."

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