By Paul Hines
MT. VERNON — The Rams soccer team hopes the third time is the charm against Marion today.
“We're very familiar with Marion,” Mt. Vernon coach Jim Duncan said. “We know that they're a very good team.”
Marion has beaten Mt. Vernon twice already this season by a combined score of 9-0. Mt. Vernon traveled to Marion and lost 3-0 before a recent 6-0 defeated at Steve Harrison Field. The matchup at Marion was scoreless for the first 50 minutes.
“I think we've got a couple things going for us,” Duncan said. “No. 1 we're well rested. We've had about four or five days of good rest. We're hungry for a win, especially against Marion since they beat us twice. And we're capable of playing with them.”
Duncan said one of the biggest keys for the game is finishing the offensive opportunities his Rams get during the course of the game. He added it's an area where Mt. Vernon has struggled in the first two meetings.
“We've made just a couple of tweaks on our offense and a couple of tweaks on our defense, and we hope that those pay some dividends for us,” Duncan said.
One of the biggest tests for the Rams will be containing Marion's Adam Newman, who had a hat trick in Mt. Vernon.
“He seems to be their main target, their main attacker,” Duncan said. “If we can keep him in check, that's going to allow us some opportunity to do some damage on our own.”
The Rams enter the postseason with a team loaded with seniors. Each of those athletes experienced last year's run to the regional title when the Rams lost a close game against Marion.
“We do have a lot of experience on our team,” Duncan said. “These guys have been there. All the guys that are seniors this year were there last year when we were in the championship game with Marion and had them 3-3 with a 1:28 to go. They've been through that fire.”
Mt. Vernon is 9-8-2 this season. Tonight's game starts at 7 p.m.