One man’s trash is supposedly another man’s treasure.
That was certainly the case Saturday as Elgin relished winning the third-place game of the 21st annual St. Charles East Invitational 2-0, while Marmion had other ideas.
The Maroons (6-7-1) completed the six-school event with back-to-back victories and earned momentum heading into the final third of the schedule. Marmion (7-8) finished fourth after runner-up showings in the two previous years.
“We’ve been trying some different formations and our spacing has been better lately,” Elgin coach Dave Borg said. “The bottom line is also that we’ve been scoring more, which allows the defense to play with more confidence.
“Even though we were missing a couple players, people have been stepping up. Joel (Chavez) took on the sweeper role today and that allowed us to have Clairain (Ajayi) move forward.”
That move paid off 4:16 into the second half as Jonathan Morales registered an assist with his pass that enable Ajayi to blast home a 17-yarder from the right side for his fourth goal of the year.
“Initially I made certain I wasn’t offside and then got myself positioned to place the shot inside the far post,” Ajayi said.
Two minutes later, Juan Flores caught the Cadets by surprise with a 53-yard blast that Marmion goalie Matt Fletcher wasn’t able to get to before it bounced over him and on into the goal for a 2-0 lead.
“The whole game, their keeper looked to me like he was too far off his line and I just went for it,” Flores said in regard to his sixth goal. “That’s one of my best long tries and it definitely felt good to get two up on them.”
Goalie Edgar Rodriguez and the Elgin defense now boast shutouts in five of its six wins to go along with a season-opening 0-0 draw versus East Aurora in a game suspended after one half due to weather.
“We always want to win, but whether we took third or fourth isn’t going to help us and we’ve got two big (Catholic League) games this Tuesday and Thursday,” Marmion coach Ricky Del Toro said. “Knowing we need everyone ready for those, we started our JV guys and we allowed (Elgin) to play their style. In that respect our mindset was there, we lost 50-50 balls, misplayed first touches, and didn’t defend properly. The key now is to move forward.”