PREP BOYS SOCCER: Tigers handle Cardinals in Section 2A opener

Photo by Sam Thiel Marshall’s Jonathan Alvarez celebrates after scoring a goal in the first half of their Section 2A Tournament game against Fairmont on Monday. The No. 4 seeded Tigers defeated the No. 13 seeded Cardinals 7-0.

MARSHALL – Despite the game time temperatures hovering in the low 40s, the cool conditions didn’t stop the Marshall boys soccer team from heating up during their Section 2A Tournament opener against Fairmont. The No. 4 seeded Tigers used a scorching offensive effort to score seven goals en route to a 7-0 victory over the No. 13 seeded Cardinals Monday evening at Mattke Field.

The Tigers got things started early on in the first half, as Chase VanDeVere put one in the back of the net six minutes into the game to give Marshall a quick 1-0 lead. That advantage would grow within the next minute, with Nick Kayser scoring just 22 seconds after his teammate to make it 2-0 in favor of the Tigers.

Both teams would then settle into some back and forth play throughout the majority of the first half, with each side getting a few chances to get on the scoreboard. Marshall added to its lead with 3:14 left in the first half when Jonathan Alvarez knocked one in off the rebound to push the Tigers’ advantage to 3-0, a score that would remain until halftime.

Marshall continued its offensive onslaught in the second half, as the Tigers scored a total of four goals in the second half. Alvarez got the second half scoring started with a strike from about 25 yards out that snuck its way through between the left post and the outstretched gloves of the Fairmont goaltender for his second goal of the night and Marshall’s fourth on the game.

The Tigers would make it 5-0 when Jonah Bader put one in the back of the net with 27:49 left before VanDeVere found his way through the Cardinals defense for a close-range goal roughly 30 seconds later to push it to 6-0. Marshall then drew it to 7-0 when Anthony Carias joined the scoring with about 13 minutes left in the game.

Marshall coach Matt Versaevel said he was pleased with his team’s effort and their ability to finish on offense and working together.

“Everyone worked really well together,” Versaevel said. “We possessed the ball and passed it well; we’ve been working really hard on finishing and putting the ball into the net as well as defensively just breaking it down working on trying to prepare for this game and the next ones to come.”

VanDeVere and Alvarez led the way with two goals apiece to aid the offensive effort. VanDeVere said their key on offense was their passing and getting quick shots throughout the game.

“Moving the ball a lot and then tapping it back to the center really worked well for us. We also had a lot of quick shots which was a big reason why we were able to put up seven goals and it was just a really good overall team effort.”

Defensively, the Tigers kept the Cardinals out of their side of the field and didn’t allow many plays to develop past midfield. Versaevel said that was a big key for them to help create their offense deep in Fairmont territory.

“Just playing defense on their side of the field and keeping the ball down there and winning it in the midfield,” Versaevel said. “We did a really good job of not letting them get down towards our side of the field.”

Marshall (10-4-2) will face the winner of the No. 5 Albert Lea/No. 12 Jordan game on Thursday at a time to be determined.