GRANITE CITY — Senior Jacob File's goal with 16:46 left to play gave the Marquette Catholic Explorers' soccer team a 1-0 nonconference win over the Granite City Warriors Monday night at Granite City.
Kwame Ngwa crossed the ball into File, who was just feet in front of the goal, and File put the ball in on a header. The senior defender said the goal represented one of his team's strengths.
"We've been trying to get crosses, we're strong in the air," File said. "We have guys who cross the ball well."
Granite City (0-6-3) might have tied the contest after the File goal, as the Warriors managed three shots. Zach Druhe's shot with 2:37 left to play hit the cross bar. Granite City coach Kenny Jackson said both teams fought hard.
"Maybe if we get a goal in a couple of our chances before the goal, it's a different game," Jackson said.
He also said his team might have created more scoring opportunities.
"We need to do a better job of moving the ball around and manipulating the defense so we can get the athletic guys up top," Jackson said. "We need to have more runs at the goal and put them in better position to get more goal scoring opportunities."
Neither team's offense proved themselves dominant in terms of controlling the ball for a large number of minutes throughout the contest. Marquette might have scored in the early minutes, as forward Zach Weinman fired off two shots in the first seven minutes of the contest — one flew a few yards to the east of the goal and another a few yards west of the goal. Granite City goalie Ryan Houston saved midfielder Chris Hartrich's shot at the 6:45 mark.
"I thought we were playing well and I thought we had a couple of good chances early in the first half," Marquette coach Jeremy Sanfilippo said. "And then early in the second half I thought we had some good chances. We wanted to cross the ball in and it finally went in. I'm really proud of the guys, they stuck with the game plan."
Granite City's offense managed to fire off five shots in the first half. Nathan Tanthavong free kick flew a few yards to the west of the goal. Eli Succarotte's shot flew over the top of the goal and Alton Marquette goalie Brandon Sanfilippo took care of the other three.
Both goalkeepers spent some time in the pressure cooker. Houston finished with six saves while Sanfilippo finished with five. Coach Sanfilippo said he thought his defenders did a good job of adjusting when Granite City challenged his team.
"We got a big boost today with Adam Johnes, our center back," he said."He's been out a couple of games. When you're a small school, it's tough to lose one of your leaders. He's been on varsity and he was there for the (2012) state championship. He did an awesome job. He made adjustments in the back like we asked and was pulling the defense back. He was going into the ball and not letting the ball get by him."
Coach Sanfilippo also credited goalkeeper Brandon Sanfilippo and said he "has come into his own."
"He answered big with a shutout today," said coach Sanfilippo. "He was tested quite a few times, and I was really proud of the way he made adjustments and some calls that worked out well for us. He came off of his line a lot when they had the wind, and I think it was huge for us in the second half."