Boys Soccer: Eddie Graham lifts Marmion past East Aurora

Story Image Marmion Academy's Gavin Sanchez (right) and East Aurora's Ivan Cano go up for a header on Thursday, October 4, 2012, at Marmion. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media
Story Image

Updated: October 4, 2012 9:25PM

If a soak in a hot tub wasn’t available, Eddie Graham at least deserved to lounge in a hot bath to soothe the muscles that had done double duty Thursday.

The Marmion junior’s afternoon began around 3:30 p.m. working on his duties as the kicker on the Cadets football team. He then went straight from practice to putting on his soccer uniform to do double duty of another kind.

While his first goal proved to be a match-winner, it was a second strike less than two minutes later that put the nail in the coffin of East Aurora.

More importantly to Graham and his Marmion teammates, the 2-0 triumph was a resounding response to feeling disrespected after East was one of two schools to tab the Cadets 17th out of 18 programs being seeded within the IHSA’s Class 3A West Chicago Sectional.

“When we heard we had been rated second to last by a couple schools at the sectional meeting, we really wanted to send a message,” said Graham, who admitted the Cadets knew finishing fourth last season in Class 2A would not erase their status as being the new kids in the Fox Valley’s 3A block. “With all due to respect to the other teams in our sectional, we should not have been listed that low on anyone’s list.”

As it turns out, Marmion (12-5-2) — which is the No. 10 seed within the 18-school sectional — posted its second straight shutout victory over a higher-seeded school. East Aurora, which had a six-match unbeaten streak (3-0-3) snapped, is the No. 5 seed despite its 6-6-5 season record. Last Saturday, the Cadets had a 1-0 win over an Oswego unit which is the No. 9 seed.

With the wind in their favor, the visiting Tomcats dominated the opening half as evidenced by a 10-1 edge in overall attempts and a 6-0 edge for on-target tries. Marmion did not get its initial shot off until 6:32 remained before intermission. However, the Cadet defense was stout enough to keep the contest a scoreless draw.

A steady rain turned into a driving downpour for the majority of the second half as Marmion began to even out the contest statistically. While East Aurora ended with a 20-9 advantage in overall attempts and a 10-3 edge in shots on frame, it was two late corner kicks that made the difference.

Gavin Sanchez’s corner with 7:06 left was headed sharply on goal by Matt Switzer only to have Tomcat keeper Oscar Calzada block the try before Graham knocked in the rebound from three yards out. With 5:40 still to play, another Sanchez corner was headed by Claudio Jasso toward the left post where Graham parked a six-yarder bringing his season total to five goals.

“Playing on such a rain day is difficult because we’re such a finesse team, and it’s hard for us to do our thing passing,” East Aurora coach Javier Hernandez said. “It ends up being a case of a mistake or two deciding the win. We made one in giving up a corner and they capitalized. As much as we were the dominate team throughout the first half, domination doesn’t win games, goals do. They got two and we didn’t get any.”

Both teams need to focus now on major conference battles on Saturday with East Aurora heading to South Elgin where the Tomcats hope to gain a win in order to become part of a three-way tie for the top slot in the Upstate Eight Conference’s Valley Division. East is 3-0-2 having tied Lake Park and Neuqua Valley, which have both finished at 4-0-2.

Marmion takes a 5-0 Suburban Christian Conference ledger to St. Francis, which just came up short in a battle of unbeatens with Wheaton Academy. A Cadet road win would set up a title showdown in their home finale against 6-0-0 Wheaton Academy.

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