AURORA – The Marmion boys soccer team controlled much of the possession on Tuesday, leading to a 2-1 win against rival St. Francis in a Chicago Catholic League match at Fichtel Field.
The Cadets (8-8, 3-1) took the ball in the opening minutes and used quick passing to keep the Spartans off balance and off the ball. Although St. Francis was not able to move onto the attack often in the first 10 minutes, the Spartans’ defense thwarted multiple Cadet attacks.
With 13:41 left in the first half, Marmion sophomore Sean Miller was able to crack the Spartan defense with a soft touch that dribbled into the goal. The ball was passed deep into the St. Francis box and Miller got a foot on it to give the Cadets a 1-0 lead.
“This is the performance I expected from the beginning,” Marmion coach Ricky Del Toro said, “I’m glad we’re not peaking yet. … I’m hoping we can do a little bit better but right now the end of the season is coming up, and this is where we should start playing our best soccer.”
Marmion has had an up-and-down season, but Del Toro was pleased with the progress on display Tuesday.
The Cadets took a 1-0 lead into halftime thanks to a few spectacular saves by junior goalkeeper Matthew Fletcher.
Once again after halftime, the Cadets came out firing and were able to score on a well-placed shot by midfielder Tim Wheeler. Sophomore Nick Grant lofted a ball into the box that landed at the foot of Wheeler, who finished the play making it 2-0.
The Spartans (5-6-3, 3-1-1 CCL) did not go quietly. Despite struggling to string together possession, St. Francis pressured the ball at every chance. The pressure paid off with less than five minutes to go when senior Jose Zepeda snuck a ball past Fletcher to cut the lead in half.
“It’s been a tough season, but we are not giving up,” first-year St. Francis coach Kevin Ward said. “You can see we don’t give up and we’re flexible and we’re tenacious.”
The Cadets were able to hold off the Spartans in the waning moments of the match.
“I think our boys were very focused today, very disciplined, very patient,” Del Toro said, “We kind of pumped them up pretty good.”
The Cadets take a trip to Bishop McNamara on Thursday while St. Francis heads to Brother Rice.