Marmion’s one-two punch of Flynn Collins and Gavin Sanchez proved to be too much for Plainfield South in a 5-1 victory during Monday’s opening round of the 20th annual St. Charles East Invitational.
While the No. 2-ranked Saints are again favored to capture both their pool and overall tournament title, the first step is getting into position to challenge coach Paul Jennison’s powerhouse.
The victory meant Marmion kept pace with East in group play as the Saints cruised past Belvidere, 6-1.
Marmion (5-5-1) improved to 5-2 in its last seven games heading into a Wednesday game vs. Belvidere. Plainfield South (3-4-2), fresh off a 2-1-1 showing in the Lincoln-Way Invitational, will play St. Charles East on Wednesday.
The Cadets took the lead in the ninth minute as Luke DeSimone’s through-ball enabled Collins to score an 11-yarder from left of center.
“I saw Flynn making a diagnol run and knew he’d finish,” DeSimone said. “Scoring right away like that gives us momentum.”
Three minutes later, Sanchez converted a penalty kick opportunity, and even though the Cougars finished the half with an 8-4 advantage for overall shots and a 5-3 edge in on-goal attempts, it was quality over quantity for Marmion.
Plainfield South started the second half strong, with Julien Tejeda’s assist leading to Cesar Bautista’s seventh goal of the year.
But less than a minute later, the Cadets neutralized that with Sanchez setting up Collins for his second goal. Ten minutes later, Sanchez registered his team-high fifth assist as Collins completed a hat trick to give him 12 goals.
In the 63rd minute, Sanchez used a Michael Bila setup for an ESPN-highlight worthy shot the crossbar.
“This may have been our most complete game, and what was most pleasing was seeing us finish plays in both halves,” Marmion coach Ricky Del Toro said. “We’ve had solid 10- or 15-minute stretches, but then we’d stop and let teams back in.”
“We possessed the ball well in some stretches, but Marmion capitalized on every mistake we made,” Plainfield South coach David Brown said. “You can’t give them chances because it becomes like the perfect storm, and suddenly 2-1 turns to 3-1, then 4-1.”