- Special Sections
- Public Notices
HILLSVILLE -- Michael Francis knocked in a loose ball in the final minutes Monday night to lift Marion to a 2-1 win in a Southwest District boys’ soccer match at Tommy Thompson Field.
For the Cavaliers, the feeling of coming up on the short end of a one-goal match is too familiar.
“We’ve played a really tough season,” Carroll County coach Brian Wood said. “We’ve won a couple that way, and we’ve lost a couple that way. I don’t think we’ve had any matches that were more than a two-goal margin, and most of them have been decided by one goal. Marion’s a tough team. We could have played better, but they played well.”
In another evening in which it looked as if 80 minutes would not be enough, the Scarlet Hurricane (5-4 overall, 4-2 district) prevented overtime when the Cavaliers were unable to clear a ball from in front of their own net. Francis and the ball found each other near the left post, and Francis simply nudged it in for the decisive score.
“The ball just got poked around in front of the net,” said Wood. “We played with the ball in front of our own goal too much, and it bounced around and it wound up with their kid having a one-on-one opportunity, and he put it in.”
It was the first goal by either team since the midway point of the first half, thanks to some solid play in goal by Carroll County’s Zack Surratt and Marion’s Addison Ratliff. Surratt stopped several point-blank shots by the Hurricane to help keep the Cavaliers chances healthy.
“Our goalie kept us in it,” Wood said. “It could have been a lot worse than it was, but he made some great stops. Marion’s keeper played a good game, too.”
Marion took the lead less than four minutes into the match when Jordan Yontz’s direct kick from near midfield glanced off a Cavalier defender in front of the goal and wound up at the feet of Garcia Ulicies, who popped the shot in past a diving Surratt.
The Cavaliers answered 18 minutes later when Jordan Worrell advanced the ball to Lucas Webb, who in turn dished off to Stafford Worrell, cutting in front about 20 yards away from the goal. Stafford Worrell was brought down in the box to set up a penalty kick, and Worrell directed his shot just outside the left foot of Ratliff, who dove right.
Marion missed a solid scoring opportunity when Ulicies and Raul Ruiz led a breakaway, but each waited on the other to take control of the ball in front of the Carroll goal, allowing Surratt to break up the charge.
Marion’s Brock Hannah was later robbed by Surratt on a second-half direct kick from about 30 yards out. Hannah punched a hard grounder to the left side as the Cavalier defense was setting up its wall, but Surratt’s diving save preserved the tie in the 63rd minute.
Surratt made two more diving stops before Jordan Worrell nearly tied it in the 76th minute. Working near the right sideline, Worrell wheeled and lined a blind shot from an impossible angle, but the ball glanced off the crossbar and Moreno’s rebound shot missed the mark. Moreno had a direct kick moments later from about 35 yards out that beat Ratliff to the post, but the shot sailed wide.
“We had a couple of opportunities that we missed out on, and they had a couple that they missed out on,” Wood said. “But that’s soccer.”
Halftime – Marion 1, Carroll County 1. Goals (time/assist) – Marion: Ulicies (6:00/Yontz), Francis (79:00/none); Carroll County: Moreno (24:00/none). Shots (on goal) – Marion 13 (6); Carroll County 10 (4). Offsides – Marion 2, Carroll County 2. Fouls – Marion 10, Carroll County 12. Corner kicks – Marion 6, Carroll County 1. Yellow cards – Marion (none); Carroll County (Goad).