On another night, against another team - it may not have been as big of an issue.
But against a speedy, athletic and aggressive Class 3A No. 10-ranked West Des Moines Valley squad, not marking the Tigers spelled disaster for the Marshalltown girls soccer team.
Trailing just 1-0 at the half, the Bobcats couldn't track down Valley's attack in the final 40 minutes, falling 5-0 in a Central Iowa Conference clash at Leonard Cole Field Tuesday.
T-R PHOTO BY TYLER STRAND
Marshalltown’s Ellyn Boland kicks the ball in front of West Des Moines Valley’s Rachel Friesth (9) in the first half against the Class 3A No. 10-ranked Tigers on Tuesday at Leonard Cole Field. The Bobcats’ Emily Rebik (5) and Lexi Vaughn (8) approach on the play.
"All game we looked a step slow, they were just faster than us," MHS coach Allie Osmundson said. "The No. 1 thing that hurt us tonight was marking - we didn't mark. That's how they got four of their five goals, because we didn't mark in the middle."
Valley's dominance was reflected in the numbers as they had more shots (30-4), shots on goal (16-1) and corner kicks (5-0) en route to dropping Marshalltown to 8-4. The Tigers' aggressiveness was reflected in an 11-4 disparity in fouls, though it also provided the Bobcats with their two most promising looks, which came off a pair of free kicks from Megan Major.
While the Tigers' fleet forwards played a part in the large shot differential, Osmundson felt the Bobcats could have done a better job getting back defensively to counter that speed.
Valley 5, Marshalltown 0
Valley - Gretta Hingle, 13:19
Valley - Sydney Edwards, 12:09
Valley - Anja Schepp, 19:45
Valley - Grace Nichols, 23:17
Valley - Janelle Madsen (Abby Hean), 32:06
Goalkeepers - Valley: Haley Morris (1 shot on goal-1 save), Maggie Krile (0-0); MHS: Amanda Hughes (16-11).
Shots - Valley 30, MHS 4
Shots on goal - Valley 16, MHS 1
Corner kicks - Valley 5, MHS 0
Fouls - Valley 11, MHS 4
"Speed had to do with it, but with marking - you just have to get back and do it," Osmundson said. "You have to get back, run hard and play defense. It's not always fun, but you have to do it every time. That one time you don't do it, they might score."
That scenario played out multiple times for the Tigers (6-6) in the second half as the visitors scored three goals in an 11-minute span. Sydney Edwards blasted a shot off a deflection in the 52nd minute to extend the cushion to 2-0. Seven minutes later Anja Schepp lofted a ball from a sharp angle that caromed off the far post before bouncing into the net. Grace Nichols used some nifty dribbling and avoided a Bobcat slide tackle to widen the gap to 4-0 in the 63rd.
Janelle Madsen completed the scoring with a goal off a cross from Abby Hean with 7:54 to play. Gretta Hingle pushed one into the lower netting past Marshalltown keeper Amanda Hughes to put the Tigers on the board in the 13th minute.
Hughes made 11 saves in goal, while Valley's Haley Morris had little to do needing just one stop to preserve the shutout. Maggie Krile filled in for the final 10 minutes, but was never challenged.
"They were just fast and we couldn't keep up with them," MHS forward Lexi Vaughn said.
As much trouble as the Tigers' speed gave Marshalltown's defense, the same was true for the offense as Valley kept the Bobcats from connecting passes and establishing much possession.
"We were stepping slow so we were really never able to get the ball," Osmundson said. "(Valley) had time to turn and go full steam ahead. And when we would get the ball, we couldn't connect the pass. We'd just play it away. It was just kind of a frustrating game all around."
While Tuesday's stats told the story of the match, one number was a bit deceiving - Valley's .500 record.
"They're still ranked 10th in the state," Osmundson said of the Tigers who have suffered four of their six losses to teams currently ranked in Class 3A's top five.
"They've played teams out of state and the best teams in the state so I knew it was going to be a challenge coming in."
I'm glad we were able to keep it close for so long, but we have to go back and work on some things - marking and anticipating better. Hopefully this game can help us see what we need to work on."
The Bobcats return to action Thursday to host Des Moines Roosevelt at 7:30 p.m.
Four of Valley's six losses have come against teams currently ranked in Class 3A's top-five including No. 1 Ankeny, No. 2 Johnston, No. 4 Dowling Catholic and No. 5 Waukee. The other two losses came against out-of-state foes - Lockport (Ill.) and Jefferson City (Mo.). ... The Tigers started the season ranked fifth and have not fallen from the top 10 all season. ... The Bobcats JV squad lost 10-0 and the freshmen team was defeated 7-0.