SOLON — Just as Kory Boebel prepared for the final preseason game in his first season as a head coach, the news broke.
His Marion boys’ soccer team was the No. 1-ranked team in Class 2A.
“I think it went straight to their heads,” Boebel said.
Tuesday night at Spartan Stadium, that appeared to no longer be the case. The Indians opened their regular season with a 3-0 win over 1A No. 5 Solon, bouncing back from a shaky jamboree appearance against Cedar Rapids Jefferson last Thursday.
“I think from the jamboree we definitely turned it around, 100 percent,” Boebel said.
“I thought it was more of a team effort tonight and it really paid off.”
Marion was 17-1 last season, its lone loss in the state semifinals a day after earning the program’s first ever win in state tournament play. Expectations have only grown. Boebel, a 2013 Cedar Rapids Prairie grad, was promoted from assistant coach to replace Marco Fichtner, his former Mount Mercy teammate.
“Kory’s a really great coach,” said senior defender Riece Frericks. “I think he places a lot of trust in me to get everybody’s mentality straight and make sure everybody’s playing well, to encourage others before putting them down.”
Frericks, a center back, is one of three captains. The other two, Jaffer Murphy and Tim Schuttloffel, combined for Marion’s first goal of the season. Schuttloffel, a center midfielder, played a through ball to Murphy, who raced past the Solon defense and broke the deadlock in the 19th minute.
Sam Murphy made it 2-0 with 1:59 left in the first half and added the final tally in the 78th minute.
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“I thought we did really well,” Frericks said. “I thought we improved a lot from playing Jefferson in the jamboree. We had a lot to clean up and only a couple days to do it, so I thought we really turned up and played our game.”
Solon (3-1) opened the season Saturday with 21 goals in three home tournament wins, but the competition was much different Tuesday.
Although this was far from a one-sided game, Marion was a deserved winner. The No. 1 ranking will still be associated with the Indians.
“We’ve had to shut that down and get through everybody’s minds that it’s just preseason rankings,” Frericks said. “It’s not really anything until the end of the season. State’s what matters and as long as we play our game, I think we’ll do really well.”
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