Marysville’s JoJo Eberhart (center) tries to get the ball away from a Worthington Kilbourne player. The Lady Monarchs lost their first-round playoff match 1-0 Wednesday night. Also pictured is Marysville’s Olivia Brooks, left. (Journal-Tribune photo by Aleksei Pavloff)
It was a game decided by defense Wednesday night as the Marsville Lady Monarchs fell to Worthington Kilbourne, 1-0, in the first round of the Division I postseason soccer tournament.
“We were prepared… [the match] was going to be won or lost in the mid-field,” MHS head coach Courtney Weikart said.
The contest started fast with both teams eagerly hunting for the ball. While the Lady Monarchs had speed, they seemed to struggle getting in front of opposing players when they had a full head of steam with the ball.
“Things can always be better, but I think [the defense] did a decent job,” Weikart said. “We knew where we needed to step in.”
It was in the 32-minute mark in the first half when Kilbourne connected the ball with the net in what most thought was the first goal.
However, the officials ruled a no-goal after a Lady Wolf was called offsides.
The rest of the first half was a “slobber knocker” as both teams seemingly held onto the ball for an equal amount of time.
In one instance, JoJo Eberhart of Marysville had a head start getting behind the defense with one player to beat to the net.
However, a last second interruption by Kilbourne saved the shot opportunity.
At halftime, Marysville (which finished with a record of 5-10-2) went back to the drawing board and regrouped for what would be a tight second half.
“We’ve got to play to win, not to lose,” Weikart told her team. “We’ve got to be able to step up and take risks.”
The second half went more in the Lady Wolves’ favor as they immediately started giving the Lady Monarchs pressure on defense. The ball most remained near mid-field and on Marysville’s side of the pitch.
Late in the second half, Kilbourne tossed the sphere from the corner near Marysville’s goal with an incoming shot attempt to follow.
The ball connected with MHS keeper Brielle Young.
However, it ricocheted off her hands and into the corner pocket of the net for the lone goal of the night.
Young had three clean saves for the night.
The Lady Monarchs took three shots at the opposing goal.
After the match concluded, the team gathered as this was the last match for seniors Young and Makenna Renevier.
“It’s something we continue to come back to and it’s just ‘what mentally do we need to change to be able to make that click,’” Weikart said.
She added the team recognizes what needs to happen, but there are still hoops through which to jump.
With a young squad at the ready, the coach reminded her players to remember the seniors who’ve stayed with the program.
“For the seniors [this is] it,” Weikart said. “How do you play every year for your seniors? … so that is ingrained for next year.”
With 10 sophomores, some of whom are in the starting lineup, the team has a great deal of talent to cultivate and prepare for next year.
Being her first year as head coach for the Lady Monarchs, Weikart is excited for the next opportunity.
“I think this will be a learning and motivational year for next year,” she said.
“Regardless of the loss, I am still proud of the girls,” Weikart added. “(It was) a new coach, being young… all these things, I don’t like to use excuses, but it is the reality.”