MARION -- Blake Clark not only netted a hat trick but had two assists as the Marion High School girls soccer team rolled to an 8-0 win over Massac County in the home opener Monday evening at Wildcat Stadium.
Clark, a senior headed to Southern Illinois University's first women's soccer team this fall, scored a pair of goals three minutes apart to help Marion take a 5-0 lead into halftime.
But she also assisted the second goal by teammate Marissa Basi, who will also be on the inaugural Salukis squad, and one of two second-half goals from freshman Margaux Bruce.
"Blake did a really nice job facilitating today," said Marion coach Jaime Clark-Verbeck. "A lot of people key on her because she has scored so many goals, but she had some really nice assists today."
Basi had two assists of her own and the match's first goal, an unassisted shot inside the goal box, in the fourth minute. Then in the 10th, freshman Adriana Baysinger deflected in a goal to make it 2-0.
Basi's second goal, with Clark's first assist, made it 3-0 with 18:52 still left in the first half, before Clark scored her two goals.
The first was unassisted after taking a through ball and dribbling inside the goal box, while the second came with an assist from Basi with 15 minutes still left in the half.
Bruce netted her first goal 10 minutes into the second half with Clark notching her second assist, then Basi assisted Clark's third with 28:51 left that made it 7-0 and cut the remaining time in half.
"In the second half we were a lot more organized and able to possess the ball," Clark-Verbeck said. "I think we just kept trying to push it forward at first and didn't get the spacing that we're trying to work on. We had better team defense in the second half."
Bruce capped the scoring with a nifty shot as Massac's keeper attacked, a move that flipped Bruce into the air but didn't stop the ball from going into the net.
Baysinger and Bruce weren't the only freshmen to make an impact in the match. Lily Garrett and Addi Wall also attempted shots and contributed to the win.
"The freshmen have had to fill a really big role because we have four starters out," Clark-Verbeck said. "The freshmen have stepped right in and did a good job of filling some big shoes. When we get everyone back, we should have some more depth, which will be great."
Marion improved to 4-1 with the win.