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Both the Marion County High School boys and girls soccer teams each had rough weeks, and neither found wins. The Knights entered the week with a 3-0 record, but now sit at 3-3. The Lady Knights are still searching for their first win after a pair of losses last week.
The week began when the Lady Knights hosted Lincoln County on Aug. 20. Marion County was outmatched at every position, and was not at full strength. Noel Obata has missed all or part of the last four games with an ankle injury, and Lady Knights Coach Devin Johnson will be happy to get Obata back.
"Missing Noel in the midfield was blatantly obvious," Johnson said. "We had nobody to take control, and until she comes back we have to find someone to step into her shoes and fill that gap."
Johnson noted that Obata was cleared to play on Friday and will be needed in the district opener tomorrow at Hart County.
The Lincoln County game ended at the half as the mercy rule came into play and Marion County trailed 11-0.
On Aug. 21, the Knights hosted Anderson County. After coming out a bit sluggish in the first half, the team trailed 2-0 at the half.
"I feel like we don't always come out here with a professional attitude to work at the highest level consistently like we should," Head Coach Greg Conley said.
The Knights played a bit better in the second half, but dropped the game by a final score of 3-1 for their first loss of the season.
"Joey Costello plays with more heart and passion than I have ever seen in a high school player, and as a coach you have to love to see that," Conley said. "That type of thing is contagious, and I am hoping his teammates will take his lead and run with it as the season progresses."
Thursday, both teams were in action as the Knights hosted 21st-ranked Mercer County and the Lady Knights headed to Bullitt East.
The Knights weren't given much of a chance against the high-powered Titans, but the game played out differently. Marion County held the Titans scoreless for the first 30 minutes of the game, and only trailed 2-0 at the halftime break.
Two minutes into the second half, the Knights got on the board from an Alex Smith header on a pass from Satchel Tatum. The Knights did not score again, and the game ended in a 3-1 loss.
Coach Conley underwent emergency surgery on his appendix earlier in the day and coaching duties were handed over to Assistant Coach Phil Chatigny.
Conley noted that he is "hanging in there", but has let Chatigny lead the team for a while. Conley returned to the sidelines last night when the Knights hosted Thomas Nelson High School.
"If not for some outstanding and acrobatic saves from goal keeper Michael Costello and a stiff defense, the Titans may have rolled over us," Chatigny said.
The Lady Knights traveled to Bullitt East, but didn't fair very well. Only five minutes into the game, Lindsey Browning scored for Marion County. However, Coach Johnson noted that "we just sat back thinking it was in the bag, but boy we were wrong."
Bullitt East rattled off 11 straight goals until the game was called by way of the mercy rule in the 70th minute with a final score of 11-1.
"Several of our key players were hit with a bug that went around this past week, so no one was really 100 percent," Coach Johnson said. "Junior captain Bailey Spalding didn't even make the trip Thursday she was so sick, and that left a hole in the defense."
With Obata and Spalding both out, and numerous other players not at full speed, the team struggled. Junior Miranda Bradshaw filled Spalding's place very well, according to Johnson.
"She played outstanding the entire game, especially considering she has never played defense before," he said. "Also, newcomers Freshmen Darrah Mattingly and Holly Mattingly gave us very good minutes off the bench."
To round out the week, the Knights traveled to Boyle County. This game is always bittersweet for Conley since he has a son that plays on the Boyle County team.
"After my surgery the day before, I went to the game as a spectator more than anything," Conley said. "I wasn't really supposed to be there right after surgery but Coach Chatigny handled the warm up and sent the team out on the field. I stayed out of the way."
Boyle County scored just before the half to lead 1-0. In the early minutes of the second half, Boyle County pushed its lead to 2-0 before Dylan Spalding put in a goal for Marion County, cutting the deficit to 2-1. The Knights ran out of time to mount a comeback as the Rebels added another goal late to take the 3-1 win over Marion County.
"I think my team played their hearts out after battling with 21st ranked Mercer County the night before, and turning around 24 hours later and playing a hungry Boyle County team," Conley said. "They gave it everything they had emotionally." Coach Conley also commented on the performance of some players to this point in the season.
"Michael Costello has played well the entire season thus far," he said. "Alex Smith continues to play consistent no-nonsense defense and newcomers Chase Lancaster and Ryan Brady continue to impress with solid minutes."
The teams have three games between them this week.
The Lady Knights play tomorrow at Hart County while the Knights hosted Thomas Nelson yesterday and will head to Campbellsville tomorrow night.