GLEN DALE - Possessing the ball, taking good shots and finishing are three things John Marshall girls' soccer coach Cindy Lawther has stressed to her team the last couple games.
While the 14-year head coach watched her team do an outstanding job keeping the ball away from visiting Magnolia and on the Blue Eagles side of the field, they didn't always take good shots and didn't always finish.
However, most importantly, they did win.
Senior Julie Young collected two goals and an assist while junior Nikki Slonaker added a goal and two assists as the Monarchs roared to a 6-0 victory against Magnolia at John Marshall High School.
After a slow start in which John Marshall took numerous shots but could not find the goal and the Blue Eagles watched a couple of golden opportunities slip by, the hosts finally got going in the 17th minute.
Young's rocket sailed over junior keeper Gabrielle Hostetler at the 23:30 mark, on an assist from sophomore Maria Tennant for a 1-0 lead.
''The last two games we have really came up short on possession time and I have been stressing that a lot," Lawther said. ''And while we did a good job keeping the ball (Monday), we had two many opportunities that we didn't finish and too many balls that we tried to kick towards the net with no purpose.
"Overall, I think we also played a little slow and that is something that is going to have to change because we play Wheeling Park on Thursday and that will not work against them.''
The Monarchs didn't wait long for the second goal as Tennant took a pass from Slonaker deep in the box and pushed it past Hostetler just 24 seconds later to make it 2-0.
John Marshall's lead moved to 3-0 at 11:06 when Slonaker picked the ball up near midfield and broke past the Blue Eagles defense before slipping a shot under Hostetler for the score.
Young later fed classmate Caileigh Chambers at the 7:01 mark with the senior beating Hostetler to the right side of the net to close the first-half scoring.
Junior Kylie Defibaugh added a second-half goal at 6:13 on a pass from Slonaker before Young closed the scoring with a steal and goal at 3:41.
''I think we started the game a little slow and then got going and we did a lot better job in the second half,'' Lawther said. ''Sometimes as a coach you have to make decisions between experience and athletisism and I can tell you that we had two sophomores play very well.
''Maria Tennant did an outstanding job possessing the ball and passing it every time she was around it, and Amber Holstine is a sweeper that has been playing very steady soccer for us.
''We did play an outstanding defensive game. We knew coming in that No. 8 (Stina Pettersen) has had a couple hat-tricks already this season and No. 7 (Dallas Mullett) is just so fast and has breakaway speed.''
John Marshall recorded 26 shots on goal to just a pair for the Blue Eagles, both coming in the final 18 minutes of play.
Magnolia did have a couple big opportunities early with Mullett on breakaways, but each time a Monarchs defender managed to get back and block her path to the goal at the last possible minute.
John Marshall returns to action Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. against arch-rival Wheeling Park. The game, originally slated for Sonneborne Field No. 4, has been moved to Wheeling Island Stadium.