DRAFFENVILLE -- That buzz around St. Mary's boys soccer team?
Yeah. It's legitimate.
At Coburn Field on Tuesday, Marshall County -- the First Region's preseason favorite -- saw that firsthand in a 2-1 win over the Vikings.
"They gave us all we wanted tonight," Marshall County coach Donnie Heath said. "I'm just glad we came out on top."
Pratik Patel broke the 20-plus minute stalemate with his right-footed goal in the 23rd minute, putting the Marshals ahead.
Collin Riley made it 2-0 in the 38th -- his second goal of the season.
"I think everyone on our team is very technically sound," said Patel, Marshall County's fifth goal-scorer in two games this year. "That makes it really easy to go forward. I was the one to get the opportunity and I just sunk it."
Joey Eggemeyer put St. Mary on the board with his goal in the 61st. For his part, Vikings keeper Jack Bell was impressive, making nine saves.
"We've just gotten older and stronger," he said. "We've really improved in the back. We still have all of our back guys returning next year, too. We're just really strong in the back."
In his second season at the helm for St. Mary, Blaine Skeen -- himself a Marshall County alum -- said consistency has helped a great deal in the team's improvement, so far.
"Returning nine starters really helps," Skeen said. "They've all gotten bigger, stronger, faster, and they've played with each other for a year now. They're starting to work really well together. They're building on communication and those kind of things. (On defense,) they're playing as a unit instead of four individuals."Marshall County 2, St. Mary 1
MC: Pratik Patel (23'), Collin Riley (38').
STM: Joey Eggemeyer (61')
Shots -- MC: 13; STM: 10.
Saves -- MC: 9; STM: 9.
Records -- Marshall County 2-0; St. Mary 0-1.
Lady Marshals blank Lady Vikings
The talent from Marshall County's upperclassmen has been largely documented in recent seasons. But, on Tuesday, it was a freshman who stole the show for the Lady Marshals.
In her first varsity game, Kallen Fuller scored a hat trick for Marshall County in its 8-0 season-opening win over the Lady Vikings.
"We were just all working as a team," she said. "When I got the chance to shoot, I just shot it. We all just gave each other support and it was really amazing." Carlen Whirley made four saves, earning the shutout.
"My back line, I'd like to say they're definitely one of the best back lines in the entire region," said Whirley, who had nine shutouts a season ago. "It's great."
Marshall County 8, St. Mary 0
MC: Kalen Fuller (6', 7'), Hope Howard (15'), Jennifer Devore (18'), Kelsey Crass (35').
MC: Whitley Watwood (PK, 46'), Fuller (64'), Jamie Pagel (64').
Shots -- MC: 20; STM: 5.
Saves -- MC: 5; STM: 12.
Records -- Marshall County 1-0; St. Mary 0-2.