WOOD RIVER — On a rare occasion, the East Alton-Wood River Oilers welcomed the Marquette Catholic Explorers to play a homecoming round of soccer on the football field at Memorial Stadium in Wood River on Wednesday night.
The Explorers returned home with a 5-2 victory increasing their record to 10-5-3 and knocking the Oilers to 14-4-1.
"The Oilers came out with some energy tonight," Marquette head coach Jeremy Sanfilippo said. "I think we came out early and gave them a little bit more credit at the beginning and were kind of diving in. I reminded the guys that we needed to go out there and play our game, control the ball and just stick to our game because that was what was going to get us the win."
The Explorers wasted no time setting the offensive tone putting up a goal by Jacob File, assisted by Zach Weinman in the second minute.
The Oilers answered to even the score off the foot of EA-WR senior David Barrett in the 16th minute.
Marquette's Weinman scored with less than half a minute remaining in the first half assisted by Chris Hartrich to send the Explorers to halftime with a one-goal advantage at 2-1.
"I thought there was a little chippiness in the beginning," Sanfilippo said. "I pulled a couple of guys off the field at one point to remind them to keep their head in the game and remember the big picture and that regionals was right around the corner. We wanted to get through tonight and avoid any injuries."
Marquette extended the lead in the second half when Noah Fahnestock connected with File in front of the net in the 55th minute to make it 3-1.
The Oilers didn't quit and persistence paid off when junior Zac Lafferty found Luke Sims in front of the net in the 61st minute to close the gap to 3-2.
Sims goal proved to be the final offensive push for the Oilers as the Marquette offense ignited.
Hartrich scored, assisted by Fahnestock in the 73rd minute to give the Explorers an insurance goal.
The final goal for Marquette came during the 78th minute when Hartrich was found by File for his second goal of the game, making the final score of 5-2. It marked the Oilers last home game of the season.
The Oilers received two yellow cards throughout the first half to senior David Barrett and Sims. File received the Explorers only yellow in the second half. Marquette racked up 12 fouls and seven corner kicks while EA-WR had 14 fouls and four corner kick opportunities.
"I think the first 65 (minutes) were fine tonight," EA-WR head coach Mike Lawson said. "We gave up a couple sloppy goals defensively on our part, especially the first one of the game with just two minutes ticked off the clock. Against decent teams you can't give them goals like that. We came back hard through the end of the first half. We were unlucky on a few things, they were unlucky less than we were. Our goalie (Nick Barrett) had a great game. He made them work for every inch out there."
The Oilers have one more game in the regular season before heading off to regional competition, while the Explorers have two regular season games remaining.
EA-WR is back in action at 4:30 p.m. today at Gillespie. Marquette gets Civic Memorial at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday and Gordon Moore Park and then welcomes Columbia at 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 15.
The Oilers kick off the postseason in the Class 1A Greenville Regional at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 13 vs. Metro East Lutheran in Greenville. They are the No. 3 seed, while MELHS is the No. 5 seed.
The Explorers are mired in the Class 2A Jacksonville Regional and plays at 7 p.m. on Oct. 20 vs. regional host Jacksonville on the road. Jacksonville is the No. 3 seed, while Marquette is seeded sixth.