LOVES PARK – After a nearly 45-minute weather delay, a slow start would have been understandable for the Marian Central girls soccer team Wednesday.
Senior Kailin Fortin made sure that didn’t happen.
Fortin scored just 1:40 into the match, and Marian Central cruised from there with a 4-0 win over Belvidere in the second semifinal of the Class 2A Belvidere North Regional.
“I feel like that goal set the tone for the game,” Fortin said. “We came out a little nervous and once we scored that first goal it really settled us down and we started to play our game.”
The Hurricanes will face top seed Belvidere North in the regional championship at 5 p.m. Friday at Wedgbury Stadium in Loves Park. Belvidere North defeated Marengo, 2-0, in Wednesday’s first semifinal.
Marian continued the scoring just under six minutes after Kailin Fortin’s goal when Addison Fortin converted a penalty kick to give the Hurricanes a 2-0 lead. The offense became stagnant for both teams for the next 35 minutes until Alyssa Sutherland scored the third goal for the Hurricanes.
“I don’t usually play mid, but I did today. I saw a gap and picked out the goal line and took it in from there,” Sutherland said.
As Marian begins its postseason quest to make a long run in the state tournament, Hurricanes coach Karl Smith was pleased with his team’s quick start.
“Today was a little different, warming up then stopping and starting again,” Smith said. “We had been off for 10 days, so to jump on them early was key. That third goal was big, too, because when you are up 2-0, one goal gets them right back in the game.”
Karlie Blaz scored the final goal for the Hurricanes.
In the opening match Wednesday, Marengo gave up two first-half goals and wasn’t able to get many chances on offense as the Indians fell to Belvidere North, 2-0, ending their season.
Marengo keeper Jordan Corner, who played keeper for the first time in a month after breaking her finger, was up to the challenge all match. Corner made seven big saves in the first half to keep the match close.
“I thought it would be rough since I hadn’t been in goal for the last four weeks, but I was happy with how I played,” Corner said. “I knew what to expect and thought I played the best match of my high school career.”
Marengo wasn’t able to get a shot on goal and had few chances offensively, but coach Jeremy Burke was pleased with the effort his team gave.
“Jordan really kept us in the game especially in the first half. It easily could have been six or seven to nothing,” Burke said. “I thought we played a lot better in the second half. We tightened up the defense and our pressure. We just couldn’t get any offense going and that’s what cost us.”
Marengo, Sr., Keeper
Corner made 10 saves in the match, including several difficult ones in the opening half, to keep Marengo in the match.
1:40: Time it took Marian Central to grab the lead after Kailin Fortin put the Hurricanes up 1-0.
AND ANOTHER THING...
Marian will look to win its second consecutive regional title when it faces top-seeded Belvidere North on Friday.