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TMP soccer falls to Dodge

By KLINT SPILLER

kspiller@dailynews.net

The Thomas More Prep-Marian girls' soccer team's bench has been visibly vacant during its first couple matches of the season.

In the third match of the year Thursday, the number of people on the bench doubled. There were two new faces and one more familiar one, and that was a mixed bag of positives and negatives for TMP.

The new faces, senior Chelsea Zimmerman and sophomore Laurel Hageman, will provide much needed depth to TMP's 15-player roster, but the familiar face belonged to senior center back Andie Marsell, one of the top players on the team, who learned late last week she would need surgery to repair a torn meniscus, virtually ending her season.

Her absence was noticed Thursday as TMP fell 6-0 to the previously winless Dodge City at TMP Field.

TMP head coach Darryl Wellbrock said he received a phone call Friday night from Marsell alerting him of the impending surgery.

"I get a call Friday night (saying), 'Hey Coach, I'm done for the season,'" Wellbrock said. "They can't get her in for surgery until the middle of this month, and then by the time, she's rehabbed, she's done."

Wellbrock said Marsell believes she suffered the injury during the fall, but it started bothering her more during soccer and she decided to get it checked out.

The 6-0 loss to Dodge City was a disappointing result, considering TMP only lost 3-0 to senior-laden Class 5A contender Hays High School, who only defeated Dodge City 3-1 on Tuesday, and won 6-3 against Wichita Independent in its first two games of the season.

TMP dropped to 1-2, and Dodge City improved to 1-4.

"With the girls, maybe that set them back," Wellbrock said about not having Marsell on the field.

"I think their dobbers were probably in the dirt a little bit because of Andie, but other girls need to take advantage of this and step up," Wellbrock added.

TMP attempted to fill the void left by Marsell, but TMP had a tough time plugging the hole in its back line.

It didn't take long for Dodge City to score, as junior forward Scarlett Real launched a shot from about 18 yards in front of the goal past the goalkeeper in the fourth minute.

"I don't think they were used to that kind of pressure," Wellbrock said. "It was obvious with the first goal. We kind of let that float through there and go in. That kind of set the tone for the rest of the game."

TMP's newcomers, Zimmerman and Hageman, decided to come out to help out their peers, but they have a differing amount of soccer experience.

Zimmerman played the past three seasons, but initially decided to not go out this year to tend to other obligations and then changed her mind. Wellbrock said she will play some center back in the place of Marsell.

Wellbrock said Hageman has less experience, competing mostly in recreational soccer prior to this year.

Zimmerman, who started practicing a day before the match, got a rough reintroduction to the game.

In the 28th minute, Dodge City sophomore Dominique Arzaga crossed the ball low, and the ball bounced off Zimmerman into the goal for an own goal.

Wellbrock said Zimmerman doesn't deserve the blame, though.

"I'm going to call that a keeper mistake," he said. "That ball should never have got across there. (Goalkeeper Alivia Inlow) should have been out on it smothering it."

Dodge City went up 3-0 before the halftime break as senior midfielder Karina Garcia collected a deflection left of the goal and kicked it in during the 37th minute.

TMP did all right defensively, shutting Dodge City out for the first 20 minutes of the second half, but then the Red Demons added back-to-back goals within 90 seconds of each other, shooting it over Gustin in the 61st minute and curling in a corner kick into the goal in the 63rd minute.

At that point, Wellbrock had his team switch to a sweeper-stopper defense that slowed Dodge City down.

It was effective, but it also made it difficult to move the ball forward.

Nevertheless, the Red Demons added the final goal in the 72nd minute, as Real received a pass from sophomore Jacque Gonzalez and kicked it to the left of the goal.

Wellbrock said it was a perfect storm of things going wrong this week. A number of girls had to miss practices due to other activities, and Marsell's absence forced players to switch to new positions.

"This shouldn't have been a 6-0 loss," he said.