DELPHOS – Delphos Jefferson forwards Maddie McConnahea and Kendall Marquiss continually came at Ada in waves.
And setting both of them up was senior center midfielder Arianna Knebel.
The Delphos Jefferson trio proved way too much for Ada in a 7-0 Wildcats’ girls soccer victory Monday at St. John’s Annex Field.
McConnahea had three goals, while Knebel had one goal and three assists. Marquiss added one goal and two assists.
McConnahea and Knebel continually fed each other and always seemed to know where the other would be in the offensive end.
“Maddi and I play offseason all year around,” Knebel said. “It allows us to connect with a lot of different players on a lot of different levels. We’ve been able to travel and play with other people who can connect with us, so it makes it easier for us.”
Knebel plays travel ball for Grand Lake United, while McConnahea plays for Fort Wayne United. And even though they weren’t on the same team, playing travel is a huge advantage for both.
“If you play enough, you’ll be able to connect with any teammate,” Knebel said.
Added McConnahea, “I like playing with her because she communicates well, so it’s easier to move the ball so we can get it up and down the field.”
Jefferson is 5-3, 3-0 in the Northwest Conference. Ada is 3-5-1, 1-1 in the NWC.
“The biggest thing is we were communicating with each other and working together,” Jefferson coach Josiah Stober said. “Not every ball is going to be perfect, but when they get their head up, they’re talking to each other and our offense flows. And today I think it did that.”
The sophomore McConnahea showed why she was the NWC player of the year last season as a freshman. She continually got loose on breakaways or broke away to pick up chipped passes from her teammates.
McConnahea’s three goals gives her 26 goals on the year. She scored 44 last year.
Knebel, who was first team all-NWC last year, has 17 goals.
“She’s (Knebel) the playmaker,” McConnahea said.
Ada got off to a quick start with several Jefferson starters on the bench because they missed practice on Saturday. That helped Ada get off a couple of quick shots, which were turned away by the Jefferson defense and goalkeeper Ally Hastings.
Jefferson made it 1-0 on a goal by Marquiss, who was fed into the box by Knebel. Marquiss dribbled down the left side of the 18-yard box and chipped a shot into the top of the net with 35:06 left in the first half.
Then, with 27 minutes left in the first half, all the regular Jefferson starters entered the match and it was Wildcats at both ends from then on.
Marquiss, who was in the right corner, sent a pass to McConnahea in the middle of the box and she pounded a shot home to make it 2-0. That came with 15:02 left before the half.
Knebel then took the ball past midfield and sent a pass to McConnahea inside the left side of the box. McConnahea drilled the shot into the net to make it 3-0 with 12:36 left in the first half.
“I think we know each other’s moves really well,” Knebel said of her assists. “And this year I think us three (with McConnahea and Marquiss) are really making a good connection.”
Added Stober, “This is the second year in a row that they’ve all played together and they’re starting to get to the point where they know where each other is before they receive the ball. That comes from playing together and time.”
With 8:20 left in the first half, Marquiss took a corner kick and sent it perfectly into the heart of the box. It was settled by Devyn Carder before Addi Schimmoeller sent it into the net. That made it 4-0.
McConnahea got her three-goal hat trick before halftime. Knebel took a shot from 16-yards out, that the Ada goalkeeper Rielyn Castle stopped, but couldn’t control. McConnahea pounced on the rebound and sent a line-drive, rebound shot into the net. That made it 5-0 with 1:24 left before the half.
In the second half, Knebel and Makaya Dunning both scored for Jefferson to make it 7-0.
Jefferson outshot Ada, 26-6.
Jefferson goalkeeper Hastings made two saves. Sierra Marlow was in goal in the second half for the Wildcats and made one save.
Castle had 10 saves for Ada.
The Jefferson defense also held up against the early Ada charge and was strong in the second half. Leading in the way in the back was sweeper Brooke Rice, along with defenders Kiya Wollenhaupt, Schimmoeller, Abby Parkins, Cheyanna Scirocco and Tori Redmon.