EDWARDSVILLE - The Father McGivney boy's soccer team undoubtedly plays a tough schedule, so when the Griffins earn a big win, it gives them something to celebrate.
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"Absolutely," Spencer Martin said after a two-gaol performance Wednesday afternoon at Metro-East Lutheran. "A 7-0 win, we started off slow, but we picked it up in the second half and put some away."
In a game that the Griffins were expected to win handily, they did seem sluggish out of the gates, but still went up 2-0 at halftime.
McGivney head coach Matt McVicar knows that his team could've played better in the first half.
"The intensity is still not where it needs to be, we came out very flat," he said. "We do a lot of good things, but we don't do them for 80 minutes. We need to get better."
Although maybe not playing to their best, it still didn't take long at all for the Griffins to find the back of the net.
In just the second minute Kai Gaither delivered a corner kick toward the on-running Spencer Sundberg. All he had to do was redirect it into the back of the net and he did so easily for what went on to be the game-winning goal and to make it 1-0 early. Some time later, Gaither scored as McGivney led 2-0 at the break.
It was a bit of a different story in the second half. McVicar chose to keep his typical starting attackers on the bench to start off the game, but they all got involved in the final 40 minutes.
Senior captain Noah Garner scored from a shot that went off the crossbar and in just two minutes into the second half. In the 49th minute, Lucas Roedl scored from Chris Marchetti's short pass to make it 4-0.
Arron Broadwater made it five in the 68th minute before Martin put a bow on things to get to the eventual 7-0 scoreline.
His first goal was a rocket of a shot from about 25 yards out. The second was from a direct free kick from 18 yards away. MEL's defensive wall didn't get to the right spot in time, Martin realized that, and let the shot go.
He scored both of those goals in the span of 90 seconds.
"He's missed some that have been close," McVicar said about Martin's current form. "You can get in a funk, so to get a couple there late is nice, keeps his mindset right that he can score."
This game was played off the back of a 2-1 loss at Freeburg the night before, but is now McGivney's biggest win this season, topping a 6-0 triumph over Highland last Saturday.
Wednesday's result brings the Griffins to 4-6-1 on the season and 2-2 in the Gateway Metro Conference, but they're not so much worried about that, they're worried about getting better.
"You're only going to get better playing against better competition," McVicar said.
"Eventually, when you get to the playoffs you have to get through the Columbias, the Marquettes. So, we have those games on there to test us and see where we're at."
"Nothing against Metro-East, but we don't want a 7-0 game like this, we're not tested in a sense. I'd rather lose a 2-1, tough game than come out here and win a 7-0 game."
His team has dropped a couple 2-1 affairs and have hung in there with some stiff competition 11 games into the season.
"We were beating Althoff, we were beating Freeburg, we took Marquette to overtime, and then wheels fall off. We have to figure out a way to execute it for the entire game."
McGivney led the Crusaders for all of seven minutes before Althoff came back and scored in the 52nd and 73rd minutes to win their first GMC meeting back on August 28.
The Griffins also led 1-0 at the half against the Midgets, but couldn't put that one away either. And of course they took their biggest rivals, Marquette Catholic, to overtime after a scoreless 80 minutes, but lost.
Add in a 3-0 loss to Columbia and a narrow 1-0 loss to Waterloo, and that just about sums up McGivney's season thus far.
McVicar knows that his team is going to have to get through those schools come playoff time. Besides Waterloo, every single one of those teams mentioned was in the same sectional a season ago.
Last year Columbia beat McGivney 2-0 in the sectional semifinals. Althoff went on to the state final before taking second to Quincy Notre Dame.
Looking ahead to this postseason, Althoff and Freeburg bumped up to Class 2A, so the Griffins won't have to worry about them, but Marquette did move back down.
McGivney will have a chance to right their wrongs when they travel to Belleville on Tuesday for a rematch with Althoff. That game is set to kick off at 7 p.m. on Sept. 19.
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