Marian Catholic coach Nasser Shahtaji knows he has a special player in Alec Guarino, a senior who’s chasing the school’s single-season goals record.
As the playoffs near, though, Shahtaji wants to see other players generating offense as well.
“We’ve been talking a lot about how we can’t just pass it to Alec and wait for him to score,” Shahtaji said. “We want to get other guys involved.”
Shahtaji was pleased with what he saw Wednesday. Guarino led the way with a hat trick, but just about every Spartan on the field got in on the action as Marian Catholic attacked Joliet Catholic relentlessly on its way to a 7-0 East Suburban Catholic win in Chicago Heights.
The Spartans (12-6-2, 3-3-1) could have scored even more as they piled up a whopping 20 shots on goal.
“I think this was the first time all season I saw have those combinations out there,” Shahtaji said. “We were connecting on passes and creating chances and it was good to see.”
Marian got on the board first off one of those combinations as Jeff Molitsky sent a pass to Guarino in the middle of the field and Guarino found Brendan Marz making a rush down the right side, where Marz finished in the 16th minute.
“I saw Alec there and I made the run,” Marz said. “He made a great pass to me and I was able to score it. We were on connecting on a lot of passes (Wednesday) and communicating really well on offense.”
Guarino scored twice in the first half, once on a penalty kick. He added a second-half score to increase his season total to 22, four shy of the Marian single-season record.
“We can always work on everything and get better everywhere,” Guarino said. “I like the way we’re playing right now, though. We’re really coming out strong.”
Carlo Falcioni and Temi Onayemi also scored for the Spartans while Marz finished with two goals and two assists.
Joliet Catholic (5-16-1, 1-6) could not muster a shot on goal as Cody Rodas, Kellen Williams and Rudy Moreno helped the Spartans’ defense clamp down.
The Hilltoppers’ best chances to score came on shots fired wide by Jared Olson and Ryan Lees.
“Considering all the good players we lost from last year’s team, we’re surprisingly in good position,” Shahtaji said. “I’m happy with our record and the way we’re playing and hopefully we can keep it going.”