two thousand twenty
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By John Addyman

Marion's Brittany Ashby follows the ball as Dundee's
Krystal Kopen (36) tries to clear it. Tracking Ashby are
Casi Strait (14) and Melvina Rhode (29). Marion won
 the sectional opener going away, 11-0
   MARION – Haley Brown’s eyes got big.
   Then they got bigger.
   Seconds after the start of tonight’s opening-round sectionals competition, Brown, the diminutive Dundee goalkeeper, saw the air fill with soccer balls.
   When the game ended, she had stopped an impressive 19 shots.
   Problem is, Marion put 11 past her and ran a clinic on pressure offense in an 11-0 whitewash. The Knights, the top seed in Class C, played their starting front wall for a few minutes each half, then let the rest of the team deal with the 16th-seeded Fighting Scots.  

   The win puts a second-round game on Marion’s doorstep again on Friday at 6 p.m., when the Knights meet ninth-seeded Pavillion, a 4-2 winner over eighth-seeded Harley-Allendale-Columbia this afternoon.
   Olivia Suhr scored two goals in each half against Dundee with none of the Scots able to put a big-enough body on her to stop Suhr from getting within pointblank range of the goal.
Olivia Suhr (left) scored four goals for Marion tonight.
Teammate Brittany Ashby waits to see where Suhr is going.
   Marion put four shots on the Dundee net in the first two and a half minutes of play. With 35:28 left in the first half, Brittani Bove slid the ball to Alison Campbell, who pounded in a shot from 20 yards out. Four minutes later, Ilana Soudan sent McKenzie Beltrone against a host of defenders up the left side, where Beltrone lined a worm-beheader into the net.
   Suhr got her first goal on a play that had to have coach Lori DeLyser smiling. Soudan hit a gorgeous corner kick from the right side of the Dundee goal and Suhr rose above everyone else and headed the ball into the back of the net. World Cup goals look like that one did.
   Beltrone got the ball to Suhr a short time later, and Suhr smacked a shot with some English on it from 15 yards away. Keeper Brown got a hand on the ball, but just one hand, as she seemed surprised the ball came in so quickly. With 28:36 left in the first half, Marion was ahead 4-0. The first-half scoring ended on another corner kick, this one by Jessa Blondell. Brown tracked the ball down and punched it away – right to Jordan Phillips, who banged the shot in at 17:06.
Marion's McKenzie Beltrone scores in the first half.
   DeLyser began a parade of substitutions after Suhr scored her second goal, and the Knights had their third team, including three jayvees, on the field for the remainder of the half.
   Things didn’t go much better for the Scots when the second half began – Alison Campbell raced down the left side as soon as the whistle blew, got the ball to Suhr, and it was 6-0. A minute later, at 38:23, Suhr scored again, this time Jaime Adriaansen getting the assist. With four goals, Suhr was soon a cheerleader on the sideline.
   Bove got the eighth Marion goal, with Soudan taking the first shot, Brown making a save, then Bove poking the rebound in with 29:45 left to play.
   Kasey Levan had the prettiest goal of the night with 23:28 remaining, hitting a shot from 30 yards out that dropped out of the sky past Brown, hit the far post of the net behind the keeper, and bounced in with Dundee defenders standing there, open-mouthed. Katie Shelhamer was credited with the assist.
Jordan Phillips moves the ball toward the Dundee goal with Jordan Camp trailing the play. Casi Strait moves in
to defend for Dundee. 
   Liz McKay and Felicia Stevens picked up hustle goals in the last 10 minutes, both on assists from Josie DeLyser.
   Coach DeLyser noted the difficulty in playing an outgunned, outsized team like Dundee whose kids, to their credit, played right up to the end of the game.
   “We took quality shots,” she said. “We tried to build up out of the back and built our attack. Everybody got into the game, including three girls I brought up from the jayvees. They all got some sectionals game experience.”
   Marion led in shots, 46-1, and in corner kicks, 13-2. Brown had 19 saves in goal; Marion’s Morgan Statt made one save.  


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