COLUMBIA — Triad scored on a penalty kick in the first minute and rode that momentum to a 4-1 win to eliminate Marion at the Columbia 2A boys soccer sectional semifinal Wednesday.
"That’s a pretty solid team we went up against," said Marion coach Rob Underwood. "They were well disciplined and passed the ball well and played good team soccer. They could be a force to be reckoned with and my money is on them for the championship game Friday."
Triad (14-14-1) advances to the sectional championship game Friday at 6 p.m. against Gibault Catholic (15-6-3), which eliminated Carbondale, 1-0, in the other semifinal Tuesday.
The last time the Wildcats and the Knights faced off in the playoffs was at the 2015 Columbia regional semifinals with Marion eliminating Triad, 5-1.
Marion (13-10-2) got into a jam right off the bat when a Knight player was interfered with in the 18-yard penalty box. Jaden Deatherage took the penalty kick and beat Camden Dodds low and to his left for his team-leading 20th goal of the season 59 seconds into the game.
"Their first goal set the tone," Underwood said. "Unfortunate mistake in the goal and we had a couple more own goals. It wasn’t our night."
Triad increased its lead to 2-0 with 22:26 remaining the half on the first goal of the season by Eli Kraabel, who had just entered the game 10 seconds before.
Four minutes later, Deatherage took a throw-in from the left side around 25 yard line and his throw went off Dodds hands and into the goal to up the lead to 3-0.
With 11 minutes remaining in the half, the Knights had a throw-in from the 10-yard line and almost scored when Deatherage hit the left goal post on his own rebound after Dodds had made two diving saves.
Marion had an excellent chance to get on the board when the Wildcats forced a corner kick with 6:53 left in the first half. However, Tyson Stoecklin just missed connecting on a header in front of the net off the kick by Josh Szidik.
The Knights out shot the Wildcats in the first half 11 to nothing and forced six corner kicks to just one for Marion.
Triad struck again 2:11 into the second half on another throw-in by Deatherage, but this time Grant Keller headed his throw past Dodds to his left for his fifth goal of the season to up the lead to 4-0.
Marion missed a good scoring opportunity with 25:50 remaining when Khoa Ho took a perfect pass from the middle by Stoecklin, but his shot sailed wide right.
With 16:41 left, Stoecklin was open for moment after taking a pass from Szidik in the middle, but his shot was deflected by the Knights defense.
Marion threatened again with 5:49 left on a give-and-go between Kameron Dover and Stoecklin in front of the net, but Stoecklin’s header was off the mark.
Marion finally broke the shutout on a goal by Dover, the 13th of the season for the senior forward, with 1:44 remaining in the game.