By Paul Hines
MT. VERNON —
Marion turned on its offense in the second half against the Rams soccer team.
Marion scored four times in the second half and beat Mt. Vernon 6-0 Tuesday.
“We played a really good first half,” Mt. Vernon coach Jim Duncan said. “(I) liked the way we possessed the ball, moved the ball. Marion's a very good team, but I think we held our own.
“We were a different team in the second half.”
Marion's Adam Newman led the Wildcats attack with a hat trick. Jacob Sanders added a pair of goals and Conner Riem also scored.
Mt. Vernon outshot Marion in the first half, but Marion had better finishing opportunities. Marion didn't allow Mt. Vernon's forwards to penetrate the penalty area and create threatening scoring opportunities. A majority of Mt. Vernon's shots came from long range.
“From 30 yards in, I give my boys the liberty,” Duncan said. “They've got the green light to take a shot on goal. Because two or three things can happen. It can bounce off the goal. It can bounce off the keeper or we can get a deflection.
“If we don't shoot none of that can happen.”
Mt. Vernon's best chance to score came when Josh Cortez was able to carve out some space in the penalty are. But his shot slide wide past the goal. The shot came late in the first half.
The two teams matchup up again in next week's regional opening round.
“I hope it's true that it's hard to beat a team three times in a row,” Duncan said. “I hope that's the case because we played well against them in the first half tonight. We got let down in the second half. I think we'll be ready.”
J.J. Wiegel finished the game with three saves.
Mt. Vernon is 9-8-2 this season.