PREP GIRLS SOCCER: Second-half boost
Pair of goals in second frame vault Fairmont past Marshall, 2-0
MARSHALL — The Marshall girls soccer team has had a little bit of a wait since it last took the field, with their previous two contests getting canceled due to their opponent moving to distance learning. Playing in only their fourth game of the season — and just their second one at home — the Tigers returned to Mattke Field on the campus of Southwest Minnesota State University looking to snap a three-game skid against Fairmont. Marshall was able to keep the Cardinals at bay in the first half, but a pair of second-half goals was enough to help Fairmont earn a 2-0 victory on Friday night.
Despite the final outcome, Marshall coach Jesus Hernandez said he was pleased with how hard they worked as a group and competed throughout the entire game.
“We were talking to the girls about how hard they worked out there; we understand that Fairmont is a really tough competitor, but we felt like, at least from our perspective as coaches, we played them head-to-head and we could’ve had a better outcome on the score,” coach Hernandez said. “It was kind of frustrating a little bit for us to work so hard out there and still take the loss but one thing we can’t deny is how hard they played and worked out there. They ran the whole game and we’ve recognized that in every game we’ve played.”
Both teams were put to the test defensively right away, with Marshall’s Emma Mernaugh being challenged by a number of shots on goal by Fairmont. Mernaugh was able to stand tall, though, making several key saves for Marshall throughout the majority of the first half. Coach Hernandez said Mernaugh has grown a lot throughout the past couple of seasons both as a defender and as leader in net for their team and was pleased with her effort, especially in the first half.
“Emma has grown so much in the last couple of seasons. Last season she did really well, this season she’s doing amazing and I think she’s one of the reasons why were able to end the first half scoreless,” coach Hernandez said. “She blocked a few shots and also she’s a good leader out there; she’s not very loud but she knows when to talk to the girls.”
As time began to wind down in the first half, Marshall started to piece together some quality looks towards the net of its own, but couldn’t quite capitalize, as the score remained deadlocked at 0-0 heading into halftime.
Coming into the second frame, Marshall looked to use similar energy that it saw in the late moments of the opening half. But Fairmont raced out of the gates with a boost of energy and capitalized on a corner kick opportunity by getting one into the back of the net to take a 1-0 lead just a few minutes into the frame.
After several minutes of back-and-forth action, Fairmont was able to strike again, this time scoring just past the midway point of the frame to push its lead to 2-0 and held on the rest of the way to earn the victory.
Marshall (0-4) will have a quick turnaround with Fairmont, facing the Cardinals again on Tuesday at 6:45 p.m. in Fairmont.