TROY - The Marquette High School girls soccer team only graduated two seniors a season ago, meaning that, almost the entirety of the team is back for this season, including some familiar faces returning from injury.
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Expectations are pretty high, and the team fought through some first-game jitters to get the job done in a 5-0 win over Springfield Tuesday evening at Triad High School.
This was the first of three games that the Explorers play in the Metro Cup Showcase.
"First game, everyone's a little nervous," Marquette head coach Brian Hoener said. "It's nice to get the first one out of the way."
Sophomore forward Ella Anselm didn't look nervous. Her hat trick led the Explorers to the big win. She broke the deadlock in the 11th minute when sophomore Chloe Roberts delivered a free kick into the box. The ball went directly to Anselm's feet and she put it away to go up 1-0.
Senior midfielder Caroline Stefan doubled the lead in the 18th minute and Anselm's second of the night in the 25th minute made it 3-0 heading into halftime.
Springfield made some adjustments at the break and came out having a little more possession and opportunities, but none too lethal. The chances were nothing that Exlporers' senior goalkeeper Hannah Marshall couldn't handle.
She picked up her first shutout of the season. Marquette boasted 10 shutouts last season and finished the year off with a record of 15-7-3.
Marquette withstood Springfield's attack and got back to business.
In the 60th minute senior center-back, Kylie Murray stepped up to a loose ball and hammered it in from roughly 40 yards out. She couldn't believe it found the back of the net. Being a defender, it was just her third goal of her high school career.
Anselm finished up the onslaught in the 68th minute when she got her third goal of the night to make it 5-0 Explorers. After a 27-goal campaign in 2022, she's already back and off to a great start. She also had an assist Tuesday night.
Roberts finished up with two assists. Marshall recorded five saves.
This wasn't a completely different starting lineup from last season, but it did see two big names return for the Explorers.
Hayley Williams missed all of last season dealing with an ACL and Jamie Jarzenbeck missed three-quarters of the season also with an ACL injury. Both of them were back in the starting lineup Tuesday night and played significant minutes.
"It's great to see them back playing," Hoener said. "Getting a game under their belt and getting a result is good."
Marquette has now won its first game of the season in three straight seasons.
"For our first game out, you like to get a result and you like to get going with some goals," Hoener said. "Obviously having the clean sheet is important and I'm happy about that."
Winning the first game of the season is always a huge confidence boost and a quick way to start building some momentum heading into the rest of the season.
The Explorers will be back in action at home on Friday night when they take on Marion. The game kicks off at 5:45 p.m. at Gordon Moore Park.
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