The boys soccer team captured their biggest win of the year in one of their most exciting games yet this Tuesday at home, when they defeated Alliance for the second time this season. The game ended in a 3-0 finish - with all goals coming in the second half. With this win, the boys move on to the district finals game on Saturday, October 27th.
David Sutton struck first for the Dukes with his goal at 27 minutes remaining, and this began to shift the feel of the game towards Marlington. Things got even better for the Dukes when just 10 minutes later, Sutton scored again in almost the same fashion.
Tay Lallie added a goal of his own soon after, and this would ensure the win for the team. Throughout the rest of the second half, Marlington made sure to focus on keeping possession of the ball at all costs and baiting Alliance into having mishaps or fouling.
The first half of the game was an entirely different story than what was to come after however, as it showcased a much more even and competitive match up from the teams. Unlike in the second half, Alliance had many more opportunities to score but failed on each occasion. In saying this, Marlington also had just as many opportunities if not more, but also couldn’t come up with anything.
What made the game so even in the first half was Alliance’s traditionally rough style of play being substituted for a more conservative approach, allowing the team to move the ball more and make more concise plays. For one reason or another, this approach dwindled once the Dukes finally got on the board, as they began to retain their physical playstyle and in turn began to commit many more fouls as a result.
A number of yellow cards were given to a few of Alliance’s players, and this number would steadily increase as the minutes ticked down.
Even with the rough tendencies of Alliance all too prevalent, the Dukes kept cool and carried on with their own style of play regardless of what happened on the other side.
Speaking on this notion was Senior Adam Ryan, as he had some words that reflected his team’s resilience against their opponent.
“With their physical playstyle, I thought we did a good job of making our presence known on 50/50 balls. The ref also called a tight game, (and) this helped us take that part of their game plan out.”
Ryan continued by speaking on the team’s composure throughout the progression of the game as a whole.
“We weren’t worried at all when it was scoreless at half. We know we are a second half team… we were confident that we were the better team and could get it done in the second half like we have all year.”
Ryan’s sentiments echoed through the rest of the team, as they wanted this win very badly. Not only was it win or go home of course, but Marlington so desperately wanted to beat their storied rivals at Alliance to take the season series, along with defeating them in light of the bad blood between the two teams overall. It’s no secret that these teams aren’t the fondest of each other, and Marlington knew that they had something to prove in this game despite their prior victory over the team. The reactions of both the players and the home fans prove how important this game was in every single aspect.
Marlington’s district finals game will be held this Saturday at Canton South High School, and the team will play the winner of Coventry and Northwest’s game. Judging by the results of the past two games - and the season as a whole - the boys are ready and willing to take on anyone in their way to that elusive state title. The confidence is at an extreme high, and it’s exerted in every game they play.
The Marlington Community has already shown a huge amount of support for the team already, and they expect even more at the district final game.