St. Viator put on a fine display of soccer in the first 40 minutes, then put it in cruise control the rest of the way to defeat visiting Marian Catholic 6-0 Saturday morning in Arlington Heights. The Lions (14-5-2) hope it all sets the table for a successful upcoming week, which could end with the club hoisting an East Suburban Catholic Conference championship trophy.
The hosts, who last Tuesday defeated rival Carmel 2-1 to keep its record a perfect 6-0-0 in the conference, can clinch at least a share of the title with a win at Marist Wednesday. Marist currently stands even with the Lions heading into the final week of the regular season.
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"One of the main goals for our program every season is win the ESCC crown, then turn our attention towards a run at a state title, said senior backliner Dan Loizzi. "We really do not want to share the title, so this week, with a win at Marist, then Benet two days later, first place is ours outright, so that's where our focus is right now.
It was clear during the early stages how eager the Lions were to make this day an easy one against an obviously undermanned Marian side, which entering this ESCC match had scored just 3 goals in league play, while conceding a conference-high 39.
"We showed everything, good passing, good movement, and solid defending in that first half to take control of this ballgame. After that, we were a little flat and it showed in a rather lackluster second half of soccer, said Lions coach Mike Taylor, who with an eye on the postseason was off to scout Glenbrook North, whom his club could face in a regional final.
With junior striker Michael Decker out of the lineup with an injury, Kevin Young stepped into his place in the Lions' first 11, and the senior would make the most of his opportunity as he recorded a hat trick, his first coming when the club doubled its lead at 21 minutes after Bill Krawzak opened the scoring just eight minutes into the match.
Krawzak finished a dominant start, which featured 4 corners and 2 deep throws during the first four minutes, when he finished in close after the Marian (4-14-2, 1-6-0) defense failed to clear the area.
Young got on the end of a brilliant crossfield serve from Nick Abel, and headed past freshman keeper Chris Taborn, the first of three who served between the sticks for Marian coach Nasser Shahtaji.
Just moments after being brought on to provide fresh legs up top, freshman Spencer Moore fired a 30-yard blast into the upper right corner to welcome new keeper Cody Kreisl.
Young got back into the scoresheet at 40 minutes when Kreisl left his line without care, leaving the box exposed for the alert Young, whose shot would richochet off defender Moe Giglio, who was on the retreat in hopes of protecting Kreisl's endline.
"We had a real slow start the other day against Carmel, but came on strong after Abel scored our first goal (of) that game before Ash (Ashwin Cornelius) got the game-winner, said Loizzi. "Today we got things going right away, then tried to stay away from any injuries in advance of our big week ahead of us.
With a quartet of players on the bench resting a varity of ailments, and the unusually high temperatures, Taylor moved several of his lads around in order to keep everyone fresh enough to continue.
Senior Jack Horvath increased the lead to 5-0 at 49 minutes, and it wasn't long after this goal that play on both ends of the ball lacked the sharpness the Lions had exhibited earlier.
Young complete his hat trick at 79 minutes with a helper from Horvath helping the cause.