MARION — Brockton Powell’s goal with 44 seconds left lifted Marion to a 2-1 win over Carbondale in a South Seven Conference boys soccer matchup on Senior Night.
“I was telling myself all game I was wanting to get this goal and I was at the right place at the right time,” Powell said. “All year we wanted to beat Carbondale and stay undefeated at home and that’s what we did.”
Marion (9-8-2, 3-3 South Seven) extended its winning streak to four games after honoring a slate of 14 Wildcat seniors before Tuesday's game. Meanwhile, Carbondale saw its six-game winning streak snapped. The win avenged a 4-1 road loss to the Terriers 10 days earlier that snapped a six-year, 14-game winning streak over Carbondale.
“We deserve it,” said Carbondale coach Jeff Hansen. “This is a game that we can’t walk in anywhere and say we’re 14-3 and think we aren’t going to (get) everyone’s best shot. We deserve every bit of this. Credit to them. We weren’t sharp and they did some things to hurt us. After the game we stood in our huddle and listened to them cheering and I didn’t say a thing. This is a season-ending performance, in that if we do this in a regional or a sectional, we’ll get our tails whipped.”
The game had few shots on goal — with Marion finishing with just four and Carbondale three — but it was the only shot on goal by Marion in the second half that proved to be the game-winner.
“We had a full squad tonight unlike we had at Carbondale, and they played it right down to the wire ... I was having a heart attack on the sidelines,” said Marion coach Rob Underwood. “I subbed a lot of guys in and out trying to keep fresh legs on the field, so my boys wouldn’t get worn down like they did in Carbondale. We’re pumped. They had a goal to go undefeated at home and we finished 6-0-1 with a big win on Senior Night.”
With time running down, Powell found himself open to the right of Terrier goalkeeper Braulio Ostos and beat him into the left corner of the net for this third goal of the season.
“Hunter Smith played the ball up and over the top, with the ball coming in between Tyson Stoecklin and the goalie,” Powell said. “I was standing at the 18 and Tyson headed it to me.”
Like the first half, the second half was mainly played outside the goalie box. Carbondale had the edge in play for the first 20 minutes of the second half, forcing three corner kicks, but couldn’t get a clear shot on goalkeeper Camden Dodds.
Carbondale’s best scoring chance came with 19:27 remaining, when Matthias Schurz took a pass in front of Dodds in the box, but Austin Gryzmala took the ball away and cleared it.
That key defensive play gave the Wildcats the momentum, which they kept for the next nine minutes. Still, though the ball stayed mostly on the Carbondale side of the midline, the Wildcats also couldn’t get a clear shot on Ostos.
Carbondale (14-3, 5-2 South Seven) got the first shot on goal of the second half with 5:32 remaining, when Josh Payne picked up a rebound in front of Dodds, but Dodds was able to make the save.
With 1:48 remaining, Josh Oberg made a run down the right side, but once again the Wildcat defense was able to wall him off, leaving him without a good angle to take a shot.
The first half was mainly played between the 10s, with neither team getting a shot on goal until the 24 minute mark, when Marion’s Jacob Murphy got possession of the ball along the left sideline and passed it to Stoecklin, who was breaking in on the inside the left line of the goalie box.
Ostos came out in an effort to beat Stoecklin to the bouncing ball, but the junior forward timed his leap at the right moment to catch the ball at the top of its bounce and headed the ball into the net for his 21st goal of the season.
Marion maintained its edge in play, getting off two more shots on goal that Ostos stopped, before Carbondale got its first shot with 12:16 remaining before the half by Oberg on a break from the left side that Dodds came out and smothered.
Seven and a half minutes later, Oberg was open on another break and this time, took the shot a little earlier, beating Dodds into the lower right corner of the net for his 11th goal to tie the game with 4:50 remaining before halftime.