As the defending North Central Missouri Conference girls’ soccer champions, Hannibal had to start its title defense right away. Saturday afternoon, the Lady Pirates opened their season with a win when Hannibal blanked Marshall 4-0 at the Veterans Field Sports Complex.
“For the first game of the year, I felt like we moved the ball well,” Hannibal coach Eric Hill said.  “The girls looked pretty good for their first game in cold windy conditions, they adapted well to that.”
Hannibal went undefeated during  NCMC play last year and after one game, is off to a good start defending its title.
It took the Lady Pirates just two minutes to get on the board when Lauren Wheelan scored the season’s first goal while Ashley Wilson picked up the first assist.
Three minutes later, Hannibal doubled its lead to 2-0 when Mackenzie Morris scored an unassisted goal.
The score remained 2-0 Hannibal until the 18th minute when Paige Utterback became the third different Lady Pirate to score on the day. Utterback found the back of the Marshall net with Emily Albright recording the assist.
There was no scoring for the rest of the first half as Hannibal took a 3-0 lead into the break.
During the second half, Hannibal got one more goal when Utterback collected her second goal of the day. This time Utterback took a pass from Bri Johnson that found the net.
Playing goalkeeper for Hannibal was Kaitlyn Edge. Just like last season, Edge didn’t have to do much as the Lady Pirates’ defense managed to keep the ball away most of the afternoon. Edge had just one save while collecting her first shutout of the season.
“The defense played really well and the midfield did nice job of controlling the ball,” Hill said. “We didn’t actually give up a whole lot of opportunities, but it was  a pretty good solid game, for our first game of the year.”
Hannibal is now 1-0 on the season and in the NCMC.
Next up for the Lady Pirates will be another home game, this time it’s a date with Canton on this evening at 5 p.m.
In junior varsity action, the Junior Lady Pirates were also victorious, beating Marshall 7-0.
The Hannbal JV squad blasted Marshall with 27 total shots on the afternoon.
Lucy Roisum led the scoring charge as she recorded a hat trick.
Bailey Welch, Aundria Sheard, Alyssa Riefesel, and Sydney Abel also found the back of the next. Picking up assists for the Hannibal JV squad were Abel, Albright, and Eve Geogeson.
The JV Lady Pirates used two goalkeepers, Summer Golian and Samantha Zielinski. The two each earned half of a shutout.
The JV squad is 1-0 to begin the season.