ALTON - Marquette girls soccer celebrated their Senior Night on Friday, as they hosted Hillsboro at Gordon Moore Park. It was a dominant performance for the seniors and the rest of the Explorer girls, as they thumped Hillsboro 8-1.

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The aforementioned seniors celebrated were, in numerical order: Goalkeeper #1 Hannah Marshall, midfielder #3 Aela Scruggs, defender #4 Tessa Copeland, midfielder #5 Clare Antrainer, midfielder #7 Caroline Stephan, midfielder #8 Hayley Williams, defender #11 Kylie Murray, defender #16 Meaghan Carroll, midfielder #17 Emma Lenhardt, midfielder #18 Hudson McCowan, and defender #23 Emma Wilson.

“I got to be able to coach a really, really good group of seniors,” said Marquette girls head coach Brian Hoener following the match. “I was able to get our seniors into the game and get them some good minutes, and get them some memories. And we have a lot of seniors that score goals tonight, which made it even better.”

As the scoreline suggests, Marquette got on the scoreboard early and often on Field #4 at Gordon Moore. The Explorers put up four in the first half alone, three of which were scored by seniors Aela Scruggs, Tessa Copeland, and Caroline Stephan, who curled in what’s known in soccer as an “olimpico”, a goal scored directly from a corner kick.

The home side continued their dominance in the second half in what was a truly professional performance for a high-flying Explorer side. Scruggs and Stephan both added to their goal tally on the day, leading Marquette and the senior group with two goals apiece. Senior Emma Lenhardt put the cherry on top for the hosts scoring the eighth and final Marquette goal.

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“Some of our seniors are regular starters,” said Brian Hoener. “They came in and did exactly what they’ve been doing all season long. We also had Emma Lenhardt come on and score a goal before I took the senior group off. I wasn’t just pleased with the performance, but how our seniors played.

“We moved the ball well, passed the ball,” Hoener continued in his praise of his seniors’ performance Friday evening. “They played possession, when we’re clicking, we like to keep the ball, we like to have the ball at our feet and force teams to chase us a little bit. They executed exacly what we’ve asked them to do.”

A Hillsboro goal midway through the second half was the one blemish on the day for the Explorers. Credit the goalscorer for Hillsboro, who slammed a shot from just inside the 18-yard box that couldn’t by stopped by senior Marquette goalkeeper Hannah Marshall.

The win was Marquette’s 14th on the season, one which they’ve hardly put a foot wrong in. Brian Hoener still expects his side to give their all in their remaining regular season contests.

“We just have to make sure they understand that as the season winds down, you have to make sure you’re committed,” Hoener stated of his expectations for his team. “Committed and working hard, even though there’s only a few regular season games left, we still want to use that as preparation to make sure we’re clicking on all cylinders heading to the postseason.”

Marquette travels to Maryville to face Maryville Christian Saturday morning. The Explorer girls return to Gordon Moore Park on Monday to face the Lancers from Belleville East.

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