Marin Academy set the tone early, scoring three goals in the first 20 minutes as the visiting Wildcats shut out University High School on Monday at Crocker Amazon Playground.
Marin controlled all 80 minutes of the game, ultimately pulling away for a 7-0 rout. The ending score was especially surprising, because the two teams played to a scoreless tie in their first meeting on Oct. 6.
The Wildcats (13-2-1, 7-0-1) are leading the Bay Counties League West, with University (6-9-6, 4-2-1) in second.
After giving up the three early goals, and with several players out with injuries from previous games, University coach Deejae Johnson didn’t want to take any chances.
So instead, Johnson made the call to use the game as a learning experience to prepare for Wednesday’s game against third-place Stuart Hall.
“We didn’t have a ton of expectations out of this game,” Johnson said. “We’re just trying to keep learning and keep getting better, and give some guys a chance to play who might help us out down the road.”
University goalkeeper John Schember was already looking toward the next matchup.
“I feel like we won some individual battles, but I feel like we’ve got to play as a team,” he said. “I feel as though if we could control the ball, we’d limit their touches, limit their possession and that would limit their shots.”
The Wildcats outshot University 14-4.
Mason McDowell scored the first two goals to put Marin Academy out in front early.
“To get the goals early made them have to play us straight up,” he said. “One of the big goals we had was to keep possession as much as we could.”
Possession was key, as the Wildcats’ midfield stopped the University offense in its tracks, and also sent the ball forward to the Wildcats attackers.
Three University players earned themselves yellow cards, and Johnson chose to keep them off the field to avoid a possible red card. A red card also bars a player from competing in the next game.
Marin Academy coach Joshua Kalkstein knew that University wasn’t at the top of its game.
“We’re not going to get carried away by this,” he said. “We’re not going to lose sight of the fact that the last time they played at our place, it was a complicated game, and it was a 0-0 draw.”