During a building year, the Thomas More Prep Marian/Ellis soccer team is concentrating on making small strides forward and gaining experience.


The Monarchs took a 12-2 loss to St. Mary’s Academy on Tuesday at TMP, but they did notch their first two goals of the season after being shut out in the first two games.


"It is nice getting the first two goals of the year," TMP coach Shawn Lawson said. "It seems like a building year. I’ve got three or four guys that have never played. We’re just trying to get through a COVID-led year, trying to get through the season and play as many games as possible and not lose the season to low numbers or whatever. It’s a building process. We’re slowly building."


Lawson said the Monarchs (0-3) are looking at the little things to gauge how they are progressing.


"The new guys, some of the guys that haven’t played that much, we’re look at some of the little things that they do — chesting a ball, or a goalkeeper going up high and catching a ball," Lawson said. "Twelve to two, you wouldn’t think there’s much to look forward to. But you look at the little things you see here and there and you think, ‘Next year, next year.’ "


Nathan Wechsler, a senior from Ellis, scored the Monarchs’ first two goals of the year. Both were assisted by junior Carlos Tinoco.


"He’s probably our only really strong goal scorer from last year," Lawson said of Wechsler. "It’s nice to get on the scoreboard. I think it gives us something a little bit to build on that (Wechsler) doesn’t give up. He was still going 110% and still trying to get goals, and it’s nice to see him score, especially as a senior."


St. Mary’s led 4-0 at halftime before Wechsler put the Monarchs on the board. The Crusaders, who put up 31 shots on goals, forced the 10-goal mercy rule with about 13 minutes left in the game.


TMP’s start to the season was delayed a couple of weeks after the Maize South tournament was canceled. It finally opened last week with games against Garden City and Wichita Classical.


"It would have been nice if we could have played the tournament that we missed out on," Lawson said. "Then we could have gotten rid of some of the growing pains. It felt like practice for almost a month before we got to play. Sometimes you want that extra time, but then again, the game is the best teacher. There’s stuff that you can’t do in a practice, it’s got to happen in a game.


"It is nice to have the season underway. Even though we’re down four or five games, I’m not complaining."


TMP will be back at home to face Towanda-Circle at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.


St. Mary’s Academy 12, TMP-Marian/Ellis 2


St. Mary’s;4;8;—;12


TMP/Ellis;0;2;—;2


Goals — St. Mary’s: Hatty 4, Peters 2, Armesto 2, Konkel, Summers, Clarendon, Awerkamp. TMP/Ellis: Wechsler 2.