Near-sideways rain, 35 degree weather and grey skies mean one thing.
It’s spring sports season.
Alright, maybe it didn’t feel like spring sports in the air, but Marine City and Algonac taking the soccer field means the spring sports season has begun.
For the Lady Mariners it started a little better, topping the Muskrats in a 4-0 game on their home turf.
“I like the way we came out and competed,” Marine City head coach Chris Ming said. “We had five freshman come out and play in their first-ever soccer game, and I like how we kind of meshed after having just six practices.”
Each half saw two goals for the Mariners, starting with senior Bailee Gunderson kicking off the season’s scoring seven minutes into the game. Senior Taelor Frank also converted on a penalty kick with 2:38 left in the first half.
The second half’s scoring was started with an own goal off Algonac, and then a goal by junior Emilie after a 40 yard run with 10:38 left in the game.
“We just work so well together, and the freshman just came in and worked so well,” Andrews said. “We were moving the ball great and worked well as a team.”
The game was largely played in Marine City’s attacking zone, but the Algonac back line of Sarah Rose, Morgan Allen, Emilee Hall and Madisyn Wilson did a solid job of holding firm for most the balk.
While the season didn’t start with a win for Algonac, they’ll be looking for another promising year with a young team under head coach Shelby Fordt.
Fordt – who is the reigning Times Herald Coach of the Year after her first season with the program – has just three seniors and is tasked with working with a young squad yet again.
“We have a lot to work on, 11 out of 15 girls are underclassmen,” Fordt said. “We are really working on getting better … I also had to take a good field player off the field and put her in net.”
Muskrats goalie Abby Kochan tore her ACL during the basketball season, so senior Hope Davis was called on in net and made 12 saves on the night.
Last year was quality for Marine City as it went 9-1-2 in the MAC Gold, but the Mariners will be looking to replace two quality players in Olivia Viney and Jessica Darga. Viney filled the net with 17 goals and added 15 assists in last year’s Third Team All-State season, and Darga held down the defense in her Honorable Mention All-State year.
Now that defense will be anchored by junior Emilie Andrews, who took All-MAC Gold honors last season. Andrews leading the Mariners this field is one of many reasons Marine City can have high hopes for the upcoming year.
“Emilie is an offensive end player and defensive end player,” Ming said. “We need her to go both ways, and her speed is as good as anyone we are going to come against. She has next level speed.”