St. Clair didn’t just grab the Burns Trophy against Marine City on Wednesday — it ran away with it.
The Saints defeated the younger Mariners, 3-0, and put 16 shots on goal in the process.
“The guys played hard, even though they weren’t at their best,” St. Clair coach David Fry said. “They hung in there and didn’t allow Marine City to get back in any way.”
St. Clair opened up the scoring 12 minutes into the first half when senior Tucker McGinnis scored from atop the 18-yard box. His ran left to right across the field, clearing enough room to fire a laser that deflected off a Mariner defender and trickled into the right side of the net.
McGinnis ended his night with a pair of goals and his coach’s gratitude.
“Being one of the leaders and captains of the team, he was able to adjust with his speed and athleticism,” Fry said.
Just four minutes after the first goal, the Saints made it 2-0 on their fifth corner kick of the game. Sophomore Derek McComas sent the ball in, and senior David Bergeron rose above the defense to head the ball into the upper right corner.
“He’s young still, so he will get better,” Bergeron said of McComas. “But his corners are perfect. That ball that I scored on, that was right on top of my head. He couldn’t have put it (in a better place).”
The Mariners managed a single shot on goal, a 25-yarder by junior Jacob Rhein in the first half. The ball had some steam on it, but never got off the ground. Saints goaltender Sam Tracy made an easy save.
Déjà vu nearly happened seven minutes into the second half when another corner kick from McComas provided Bergeron with an opprtunity for another header. This time, the ball went into the waiting hands of Marine City goalkeeper Michael Polio.
Three minutes later, Polio made a fabulous save when he sprawled in front of the net to stop an 11-footer from Bergeron. Polio ended the game with seven saves.
He didn’t hold the Saints off for the entire second half, however, as McGinnis blew one by the right side of the goalie to make it 3-0.
St. Clair senior Scott Bradley heads the ball in front of a group of Marine City players during a soccer game August 27, 2014 at East China Stadium.
On the other end of the field, Tracy could have read a book in the second half. After seeing only one shot in the first half, he didn’t face any shots on his net in the second.
“We have a strong defense this year,” he said. “They’re not letting anyone get by them or dangle them.”
It has been a rather shaky start for Marine City, which has been outscored 10-0 when including its opener against Port Huron. Head coach Gregg Govier said his inexperienced team needed more than one week of practice, but he also predicted the Mariners will grow from playing tougher opponents.
“We’re playing schools that are twice our size,” he said. “I schedule like this on purpose.”
Both teams left the field with injury concerns.
Eleven minutes into the game, Saints senior Scott Bradley went down with what Fry said could be a hamstring injury. Bradley had a similar injury last season, and told Fry it felt worse than last year’s incident.
“He’s fast. He doesn’t let anyone take advantage of his space when he has the ball,” Fry said. “He was just starting to get into his groove. Hopefully, he can come back from whatever injury he has.”
Mariners’ senior Bane Berardi also went down in the first half with a right shin injury after a collision. He was carried off the field and was taken to be examined.
Contact Matt Sheehan at (810)-989-6267 or email@example.com. He’s on Twitter @MattSheehan333.