MARION — The Marion Indians entered Saturday averaging nearly seven goals a match with two players accounting for at least 20 apiece.
None of that mattered to a stingy Center Point-Urbana defense.
“The selflessness of this team is just phenomenal,” CPU girls’ soccer co-coach Todd Mitchell said after the Class 1A third-ranked Stormin’ Pointers delivered 2A No. 2 Marion its first defeat this season, 1-0, in a Wamac Conference match Saturday at Marion High School. “We don’t have a rock star on this team, but we have 11 players that just come and play their best every day. That is the thing.”
Marion standouts Grace Coates (24 goals this season) and Naomi Smith (20) had few scoring chances close to the goal thanks to an effective combination of CPU possession and a strong effort from the backline of seniors Alexa Coller and Danica Heffernen, freshman Ryley Goebel and junior Madison VanVors.
“Today we really came together,” Coller said. “We were moving the ball really well. It was pretty to watch.”
It was the first match all season in which neither Coates nor Smith scored at least one goal for Marion (11-1).
“We worked a lot on talking and communicating off the ball,” Heffernan said. “We have played with each other for a long time, so we kind of know each other and where we are going.”
The match appeared destined for a scoreless first half until CPU junior midfielder Lauren Dufoe lofted a short free kick over the Marion defense and beyond the reach of the goalkeeper with 31 seconds left.
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The goal — which arrived just hours after Dufoe and teammate Adrianna Katcher participated in a state-qualifying track and field meet — was the fifth this season for Dufoe, who was an honorable-mention selection to the 1A all-state team last year at goalkeeper.
CPU (11-2) can lock up a Wamac division title Tuesday with a victory at Independence.
“It definitely boosts our confidence,” Heffernan said. “But we have a lot to work on and we just have to stay humble and keep working.”
Class 1A No. 3 Center Point-Urbana 1, 2A No. 2 Marion 0
Goal — Lauren Dufoe (5).
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