MICHIGAN CITY -- The 8-1 score could have been much worse.
The Michigan City players knew it and Wolves coach Michael Ramsey knew it, but what purpose would piling on to an undermanned opponent serve?
"We wanted it to be fair," M.C. junior Mary Patricia Kelley said. "Imagine not having any subs, having only nine players, not having enough for a team."
That was the scenario for the Blazers, an 11-player squad to begin with that is down two of those due to concussions that may well leave them short for the balance of the season.
"Playing 11 versus nine, it's not really giving you a very good idea of your own talent," Ramsey said. "We've had our own struggles this tear and while it would've been nice to score even more, we talked to our girls and they said, no, let's play straight up. If we were ever in a similar situation, I would hope someone would do the same."
Ramsey learned of Marquette's limited lineup when the team got to the match and the decision was made just beforehand.
"We had to adapt to it," Olivia Shinn said. "Last year, it was a similar situation. They only had 11 on the team."
Marquette coach Wil Cogdill said most teams they have faced since the two injuries early in the season have played them nine on nine, with a few exceptions, and one of their wins came in a deficit situation.
"It's tough," Cogdill said. "They all look at MaxPreps and see, oh, these guys have only one loss. All season, they've come out and given it their best. That's the most you can hope for. If you lose, you lose. I can't expect them to do things that aren't possible. More than half the team is first-year players or they haven't played very much. We're just kind of working on the basics, the fundamentals, and at this point in the year, we're actually seeing some real improvement. They're dealing with it really well. I really admire them."
Ramsey felt the same way.
"We learned a lot. It was good," he said. "Wil's a great guy, a really good coach. He actually coached a number of my girls at younger age. It's a tough situation there with the numbers. It just seemed like the right thing to do."
City jumped out 2-0 quickly and was up four in the first half before Jay'anna Blakely got the Blazers on the board.
"It's been really tough, but everybody's so close," Marquette junior Riley Lindsey said. "No one gets mad at each other. We have so many girls who have never played before, we're just trying to help them learn."
The Wolves were up 5-1 at the half and added three goals after the half. Officials accommodated the nine-on-nine setup by giving the teams a break within the halves as well.
"It was hard at first," Kelley said. "It definitely created more space. We adapted to it. Probably the most different part was defense because we only had three. We didn't compact enough but we got the hang of it. When it gets to a score like that, we try to work on practicing stuff that, passing it into the middle more."
Shinn had a hat trick for City with Kelley scoring twice.
"I play for my grandma (who died earlier in the year)," Shinn said. "She was usually at all the games. I'm making her proud. I'm proud of how far we've cone. We've definitely improved."
Michigan City 8, Marquette 1
Olivia Shinn had a hat trick for the Wolves