152 W. Biesterfield Road,
Elk Grove Village
Phone 847.956.1818
Fax 847.956.4848

Coach: Mike Taylor
Assistant coach: T.J. King
Tom Martin Sr., GK
Aaron Tres Jr., GK
Javier Romero Jr., M
Kevin Klinkenberg Sr., M
Miles McDonnell So., D
Mateo Leudo Sr., M
Spencer Moore Sr., M
Zach Gyuricza Jr., M/F
Ryan Carroll Jr., D
Chris Beiersdorf Jr., D/M
Ryan Henry Sr., M
Jack McNamara Sr., M/D
Ethan Wolf Sr., D/M
Nick Eschbach Sr., M/D
Aidan Williams Jr., F
Jon Surdam Sr., D
Kyle Koss Sr., M/D
Mark Tun   Sr., D
Nick Winter Sr., M
Woojin Son Jr., F
Joseph  McCollum Jr., D
Jason Ziolkowski Sr., D/M
Kevin McMahon  Sr., M
Dominic Perrone Sr., F

Lions blank Marist to take control of ESCC race


By Mike Garofola

Whether or not Marist's record was the real deal or just a mirage, there was one sticking point which forced Mike Taylor to ready the distress flags in advance of Saint Viator's match with the RedHawks Thursday in Arlington Heights.

And that was Marist's recent 2-0 victory over longtime rival, and reigning East Suburban Catholic Conferebce champ Benet Academy.

But 15 minutes into this ultra important conference contest, it was clear it would be the visitors who would signal for an SOS.

A rampant Lions club club ran through, and past their opponents on the extra-wide 80 yards turf on the floor of the Robert Morris Stadium, never allowing the RedHawks to get a sniff of the goal, in what would be a comfortable 3-0 victory.

That win gave Saint Viator (14-3-1, 6-0-0) sole possession of first place, with just Joliet Catholic Academy on saturday, then the aforementioned Benet next Friday as the only two clubs standing in the way of a league-best eighth conference championship.

"Yes, we took notice of (their) win over Benet, you have to," began the Lions manager, who during intermission honored the 18 seniors in his program during a short ceremony at this gorgeous, rebuilt stadium.

"You obviously have to respect everyone, but that shutout against Benet made us maybe a little more aware, but once we got out there and played and with the way we possessed, used width, attacked, and watched (Zach) Gyuricza run at them (and) past them to break them down in the back, I knew they wouldn't give us much trouble if we continued to play that way for 80 minutes."

"It's never easy telling your team we were beaten by the better team, but it was the truth, and that's what I told the guys right after the game," said RedHawks manager Sean Maxwell, who up until this match, had guided his lads to an impressive 13-5-1, 6-1-1 season, which included a goal-less draw with Marian Catholic on Wednesday.

"Their top 5-6 guys were so much faster and quicker than my top (5-6) guys, and it was one of the reasons we struggled so much on both sides of the ball," admitted Maxwell.

"I've seen some pretty good (Viator) teams during my eight years on the job, but this might be the best they've had."

Senior Tom Martin had an easy time recording another clean sheet, as his backline mates Ethan Wolf, Javier Romero and Mark Tun stayed organized and ferocious in the tackle, with this unit never conceding a quality chance on their keeper.

"Wolfy keeps getting better and better back there with each game, especially in his communication, and he's always a threat coming forward to take those long throws of his," offered Taylor.

It wasn't a night were Wolfs' trademark long tosses where needed, with Kevin Klinkenberg and Kevin McMahon providing all the inspiration needed to slowly break down and shred the RedHawks in their own end.

"The two of us have been playing alongside each other as freshmen, so there's a certain comfort level we both have and we always know were each other is at, and what we'll do with, and without the ball," said Klinkenberg.

"Neither one of them are flashy, but I will tell you something, right now those two are playing at a very high level, and they're the reason our attack is going so well, and also the reason we've been taking control of the middle, and slowing down the opposition," said Taylor.

The ability of the Klinkenberg-McMahon duo to play strong on both sides of the ball helped baffle the Marist attack, and if it wasn't Klinkenberg directing traffic or getting forward himself to add numbers, it was his partner McMahon who sat just behind the forwards, easily winning balls, distributing, and most importantly, providing quality with his deadly left-foot.

It was only a matter of time before the Lions would puncture the Marist backline, and they nearly did so at the half hour, when no less than five close-range attempts were cleared off the line by the RedHawks backline, or their brave keeper, Noah Kemp, who wished his mates would stop conceding corners by McMahon during this siege.

Kemp did stop a Klinkenberg shot on frame at 33 minutes, but the diminuitive keeper could only look away in disgust when Spencer Moore was brought down in the box on the tail-end of a mazy run after Klinkenberg put the all-state candidate through.

The RedHawks keeper guessed correctly that McMahon would send his spot-kick towards the left post, but the senior had far too much power and pace on his attempt, which exploded into the far corner to give the Lions the only goal they would need at 35 minutes.

Marist's bench howled its disapproval - and perhaps rightly so - when Klinkenberg doubled the host's advantage less than 60 seconds later with a short-range shot which the visitors claimed was steered in by the hand of the senior.

Klinkenberg admited to nothing afterwards, but it was Wolf who made it all possible with a clever put back of a McMahon corner which got behind the RedHawks backline to give Klinkenberg a free run to the ball.

"We all felt it was a hand ball, but we put way too much energy into (a bad call) and not enough at the task at hand and that's not how to compete with a team like Saint Viator," Maxwell said afterwards.

Neither side was particularly pleased with the way that the match was officiated.

"We knew coming in the way Marist can, and would play, and we told our guys to not get caught up in (it) - but we still got ourselves two yellow cards, which I wasn't happy with, but (then) none of us were happy with the way the guy in the middle kept things under control," said Taylor.

After the break, Gyuricza was an absolute menace to the visitors, putting the RedHawks under from the opening whistle of the second period, while picking on, particularly, the outside MF and defender on the right side of the pitch, yet still showing great pace from touchline-to-touchline.

"It's something we've been wanting him to do, and tonight, you saw first hand how dangerous he can be when he uses his speed to run at the defense, because not only does he create for himself and others, but he puts so much pressure on the other team," said Taylor, who feels the big senior striker will be a force from here on out.

Gyuricza enjoyed a few good chances on frame and put a serious dent in the left post in the 55th minute with a left-footed guided missile, but it was the Lions leading goal-scorer, Nick Winter, who put a little more icing on the cake with his 16th of the season at 58 minutes.

Once again, it was McMahon who would get it all started with a nicely-served freekick from the near touchline.

Marist's new keeper, Sam Gainer, did well coming off his line to punch the left-footed ball - but in doing so, left a big gap between him and his endline, which opened Winter's eyes wide.

The senior thumped his header where Gainer should have been, starting a small celebration on the bench.

Taylor slowly begin bringing several of his first-11 off for the night, sending out senior reserves Dominic Perrone, Nich Eshbach, Andy Smith, Mitch Ryan and Alex Quist so they get some minutes and enjoy their final regular season match before the home crowd.

"It feels good to at least clinch a part of a conference championship in our last year (here) but we have two more games to win it outright and there's also a lot of soccer left for us and a hopeful long run in the state playoffs," said McMahon.

"Kevin (Klinkenberg) and I are real happy with the way were playing in the middle right now, and with the way the team has come together in the last two weeks. Our nonconference and tournament schedule's have helped prepare for us big games like this one tonight and it should benefit us a lot when the playoffs begin."

The 3-0 clean-sheet was the Lions seventh in their last nine matches, which, coincidentally, have all been victories.

During that span, they have outscored their opponents by a 32-3 margin.

"When we come to play like we did tonight, we're a very dangerous ball club (but) we have to continue to play this way from here on out," cautioned Taylor.


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