Trailing Aurora Central Catholic 1-0 at halftime on Thursday, Marmion coach Ricky Del Toro had an easy speech to deliver.
"The adjustments at halftime we made is we really hate losing to ACC so much that our coach just told us to refer to the scoreboard and that should be enough motivation for us to come out on top," Marmion sophomore Gavin Sanchez said.
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Sanchez shouldered much of the load in making sure the Cadets did indeed come out on top, scoring a pair of second-half goals including the game-winner with 3:43 remaining to give Marmion a 3-2 win in a nail-biter that saw both teams score clutch goals in the final eight minutes.
Aurora Central (6-6, 1-3) fell three games behind Marmion (7-5, 4-0) in the Suburban Christian Conference but it was the Chargers who led much of the way. David Petesch fired from about 22 yards out and found the top right corner to put Aurora Central ahead 1-0 with 13 minutes left in the first half.
"It was a great game from both sides, both possessing, taking advantage of dumping it here and there," Aurora Central coach Eric Cournaya said. "Unfortunately someone has to lose."
Despite trailing it was the Cadets who had most of the chances in the opening half. That continued into the second half, and with 34 minutes remaining Luke DeSimone was in the right spot at the right time and knocked in a rebound.
With 24 minutes left the fans on an overcast day at Fichtel Field opened their umbrellas. About a minute later the conditions went from a steady rain to a downpour.
On that wet field the game remained tied until the 13-minute mark when Sanchez connected on a blast from about 25 yards out for a 2-1 lead.
"The defender was overcommitting and I saw the ball coming in," Sanchez said. "I made him bite to the left and went off to the right and curved it around and it went in the upper 90 and I was fortunate for that to go in."
The Chargers responded by tying the game 2-2 with 7:25 left. Off a free kick from Ricky Anaya, Nick Homan headed the ball into the net.
Sanchez had the answer, blasting a short-range shot in when the Chargers failed to clear the ball, and the wet conditions made the save tricky for the Chargers keeper.
"The ball is slick, it was just one of those things I think our keeper let it slip through his hand," Cournaya said. "Game of soccer, you have to play in the weather."
It was the fourth goal of the season for Sanchez who doubled his yearly total in the final 13 minutes Thursday.
"I just pounced on that and pounded it right in," Sanchez said.
"Today one of our quality players brought out his best to get out of it and we got out of it," Del Toro said of Sanchez. "Give credit to them because they gave us a heck of a game, a lot of trouble, two goals, but we got it done. But we've got to get better."
Cournaya also emphasized to his team that they played well in defeat and if they can keep it up they'll have a strong finish to the season. He said stopper Eddie Eastwood and sweeper Keith Latham played well on defense.
"Those two guys defended very well," Cournaya said. "Everyone played great. We can definitely take a lot out of this because we have been struggling with our intensity all year long and this is probably the second game we've left everything on the field. We just have to learn from this and say 'Hey, do we want this feeling again and push that more to come out on top next time?'"