Karner scores late as Marmion beats Saint Ignatius
Cadets defeat Wolfpack to move to 2-0 in CCL Blue
By Curt Herron
AURORA - Thursday's matchup between Marmion Academy and Saint Ignatius figured to be a hard-fought battle, as one might expect between two teams who won their openers in the Chicago Catholic League Blue Division two days earlier.
And while there certainly was plenty of drama between the Cadets and Wolfpack, neither side walked away all that satisfied from the match due in part to issues that both had with the many disruptions which affected the flow of play.
On a day where the teams were tied for nearly an hour and each side held brief leads and converted a penalty kick, Marmion finally took control for good in the late going when junior forward Harley Karner got free and connected from close range in the 69th minute to give the hosts a 3-2 victory at Powers Field.
"I think it was a great effort on everyone's part and we couldn't have done it without them, especially on my goal," said Karner, who is the Chicagoland Soccer Man of the Match. "This was a big win for us and we're looking to keep this momentum going as we move on to our next conference games.
"I think we've made big steps since the beginning of the season. This is my third year here and I think that the team has improved a lot. Right now, we've just been working really well together and putting in the work at practice and I think it's showing on the field. I like our hard work and work ethic."
The Cadets (6-3-1, 2-0), who captured a big 3-1 victory over St. Laurence on the same field on Tuesday and have won all three of their matches this week, took a 2-1 lead in the 43rd minute when the Wolfpack were called for a foul in the box and junior Barry O'Neill converted the penalty.
But that lead was short-lived as Saint Ignatius (2-3-1, 1-1), which beat Mount Carmel 3-2 in its CCL Blue opener on Tuesday, got the equalizer in the 46th minute when senior Tyler Masseur sent a pass inside to senior Nick Williamson, who connected.
Both sides had good opportunities before the hosts finally moved in front for good. For the Cadets, Karner sent an attempt just wide before O'Neill, Giovanni Magana and Ricardo Saucedo were all denied by Wolfpack keeper Liam McConnell.
Meanwhile, Saint Ignatius countered with a free kick from Jack Lowe and a liner from Masseur that were both hauled in by freshman keeper Adam Ozsvath while Christian Carr placed a header just wide of the net. Lowe also was thwarted as the visitors were attempting to pull even in the final minutes.
"I told the boys that today's game was going to be won or lost with how much they wanted to win the game," Wolfpack coach Matt Miller said. "It was going to be a battle with first and second challenges. They were playing on grass, and typically play on turf, so it's a different type of challenge, and one that they have to adapt to for 80 minutes.
"It wasn't going to be beautiful soccer today, it wasn't going to be a high-possession game, in either case. It was going to be scrappy and about who wanted it more, a hard-fought, physical game, and that's the way it ended up being."
Marmion now has three-straight road matches, playing at Plainfield East on Saturday and in CCL Blue matches at Fenwick on Tuesday and at Loyola Academy on Thursday.
"In the Chicago Catholic League, there's no easy games," Cadets coach Gerardo Alvarez. "So you'd better come out and you win them since no one is giving you a game. Hats off to Ignatius, they're a tough team. They gave us a tough game and fortunately we were able to pull it out.
"We've improved, but we still have a long way to go, and this game showed it. We had a big win over St. Laurence, but what's challenging for a young team is coming back and backing it up with a solid victory. I think that we had a letdown and we didn't play our best game.
"Everyone on the team has a role and when you come out to these games, everybody has to be plugged in all of the time. It impacts the morale and the energy for the team, both on and off the field. We have guys who understand their role and they do it religiously in every game and every practice. We have to get more kids on the same page."
Early in the opening half, the Cadets had good scoring attempts from Nathan Sowers and Karner while the Wolfpack responded with threats from Oscar Quinn-Pasin, Dillon Kraft and Jack Regan.
Saint Ignatius pulled in front for the first time in the 30th minute when Quinn-Pasin put a corner kick in front of the net and Kraft got a touch on the ball and it deflected off a defender to result in a handball in the box. Quinn-Pasin then put in the subsequent penalty.
The Cadets responded with several good chances as Sam Seykora and O'Neill were turned away by McConnell and Alvaro Alanis had a shot cleared by a defender. Marmion finally connected in the 39th minute when Adrian Ruiz sent in a corner kick and Alanis fired in a shot that deflected to Saucedo, who put in the short try to even things.
"We knew that it was a tough match coming into it," Cadets defender Lucas Brummel said. "So we knew that we had to stay strong and keep them in their half. We had to keep defending and keep the ball and not let them get shots.
"We've definitely gotten better with our shape and opening up and finding the open guy. And better passes overall and moving the ball up and down the field and side to side. I like our dedication and always trying to come out and give our best, whether it's a hard match or an easy match, we're always ready to go."
Saint Ignatius hosts Loyola in the CCL Blue on Saturday and then plays matches at Lincoln Park, De La Salle, Brother Rice and Whitney Young next week, with the one against Brother Rice also being in league play.
G Liam McConnell
LB Jaxson Hanlon
CB Lucas Hanna
CB Billy Thompson
RB Cristian Rodriguez
DM Jack Lowe
DM Oscar Quinn-Pasin
AM Dillon Kraft
LW Jack Regan
RW Tyler Masseur
CF Christian Carr
G Adam Ozsvath
D Lucas Brummel
D Diego Tellez
D Mactzil Uriel Lopez
D Nathan Sowers
M Alvaro Alanis
M Barry O'Neill
M Giovanni Magana
M Jesus Covarrubias
F Harley Karner
F Ricardo Saucedo
Chicagoland Soccer Man of the Match:
Harley Karner, jr., F, Marmion
S: Quinn-Pasin PK, 30th minute
M: Saucedo (Alanis), 39th minute
M: O'Neill PK, 43rd minute
S: Williamson (Masseur), 46th minute
M: Karner, 69th minute