Brannan's Hattrick Leads JBU to 8-0 Win Over Ozarks
SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (September 8, 2012) — In a match against a winless team, John Brown (3-2-0) rode a hattrick from Whitney Brannan and two goals from Laura Garcia to a convincing 8-0 victory over NCAA III University of the Ozarks (Ark.) at Alumni Field this afternoon.
"We've been playing really well as a team lately," said Brannan. "Today it was fun to just get out there and tune up our play in preparation for the games coming up next weekend."
Casey O'Brien opened the scoring only four minutes into the match before the Golden Eagle offense continued the outpouring of shots and scoring opportunities.
By the 11th minute, JBU had opened a 3-0 lead as two Brannan goals contributed to the ballooning Ozarks deficit.
By halftime, John Brown's lead grew to 5-0, courtesy of a pair of goals from Madi Sulsmich and Brannan's third goal of the afternoon.
"Our pregame focus today was all about what it looks like for our team to compete on the field for the glory of God," said head coach Scott Marksberry. "If we truly are attempting to play the game for a purpose bigger than ourselves, then we will play our best game, no matter the result or the opponent.
"It can be challenging to stay sharp if you are winning or losing a game by a large margin, but I was really proud of the way our girls worked today, playing an unselfish game."
Despite sporting a 0-4-0 record entering today's match, Marksberry took note of the Ozark effort.
"I was very impressed with the effort that Ozarks put in through the final whistle. They were a classy team, and they continued to play hard even after going down a player in the 1st half."
Two Garcia goals and a strike from Alex Fahr cemented the 8-0 final.
Brannan and Garcia had career days today. Brannan, a junior transfer, set her JBU personal best of three goals in the outing while Garcia tied her career-high of two goals in a contest, equaled twice last season, once against Bethel (Tenn.) and later again versus Wayland Baptist (Texas).
"It was great to see Whitney, Alex, and Madi get on the scoresheet for the first time this season," added Marksberry. "Whitney had a couple of great finishes in addition to the penalty kick. Alex's goal was the goal of the game, a brilliant first touch to beat a defender before she went post-and-in.
"I cannot say enough about the play of our back line this week. Playing three games in six days, our defense posted three shutouts, and limited Ozarks to a single shot today, none of which reached goal. Laura (Bradshaw), Chloe (Fennell), Adrienne (Kennedy) and Rachel (Harris) were great all week. Thankfully, Julie Whitlow is close to full speed again."
Kristen Morency and Alysan Burgbacher split time in net for John Brown.
The Blue and Gold will now take a week's rest to prepare for Bacone (Okla.) and MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) next Friday and Saturday (Sept. 14-15) at the JBU Invitational.