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Marquette senior captain Matt Buchheit looks to settle a ball at midfield Monday vs. Edwardsville on the road.
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Daniel Hartzell looks to gain control for the Explorers on Monday vs. the Tigers at the District 7 Sports Complex in Edwardsville.
EDWARDSVILLE — The Marquette Catholic Explorers couldn't make an early goal hold up at the District 7 Sports Complex Monday in Edwardsville.
EHS overcame a goal by Marquette's Matt Buchheit early with three unanswered goals to win 3-1.
The Tigers improved to 6-0-1 with the win, while the Explorers dropped to 1-4-1 with the loss.
Marquette head coach Jeremy Sanfilippo praised his squad's performance, despite not being able to repeat last season's 4-3 win in Alton over Edwardsville.
“We played them tough,” Sanfilippo said. “They’re a very good team; they won state last year in big schools. For a small school like Marquette, we’ve got 30 guys and a couple injuries, I think we came out and gave them a game. You could hear their coach (Mark Heiderscheid); he was nervous. We got the first goal and he definitely came unglued after that. I praised the boys and I praised the boys after the game. I thought we gave them every bit and they earned it."
The Tigers put the pressure on early, controlling time of possession. When the Explorers finally got an opportunity on offense they took advantage of it, scoring on their first shot on goal.
In the 25th minute Buchheit accepted a pass from Nate Siener, after the EHS defense failed to clear the ball, rifling a shot into the back of the net from just inside the 18-yard box and putting Marquette in front 1-0.
"We were man marking and we forced them into a mistake," Sanfilippo said. "We work on our passing in practice, we play a possession game. It was a quick pass to the corner and then a quick pass out to the middle to Matt Buchheit and he finished it the way you would expect him to as a senior. He put it in the back corner of the net and it was a beautiful goal."
It was the first goal of the season for Buchheit.
Edwardsville responded in the 32nd minute when Suleman Bazai dribbled into the box and slipped a goal past Marquette goalie Brandon Sanfilippo. It was Bazai's seventh goal of the season, assisted by sophomore Mohammad Hamad to knot it at 1-1.
The game entered the break in a 1-1 stalemate. EHS head coach Mark Heiderscheid applauded the defensive effort and game plan of the Explorers.
"They did a very good job of congesting things and they also made very timely tackles," Hederscheid said. "When they needed it most — a guy was trying to go through — they made the tackle, or when there was a play in and around their box they were able to make a lot of right decisions. Instead of making a mistake it seemed like they got onto everything and kept clearing it."
But the pressure by the Tigers was able to break through in the second half. In the 66th minute, Bazai headed a ball into the corner to Kyle Swanson, who sent a cross pass in front of the goal to Edwardsville's Landon Paul who flicked it in for what would turn out to be the game-winning goal.
It was Paul's team-leading eighth goal of the season as he continues to be the equalizer for the Tigers.
"It's always (Paul)," Heiderscheid said. "Granted on that one you really have to compliment Kyle Swanson because it's hard work; he gets down to the corner and he makes the right choice on how to play the ball in, but goodness, that's Landon Paul. Maybe if it's another player you think he's kind of fortunate to put in a strange back heel like that, but since it's Landon Paul we've seen it so many times from him that's just a thing of brilliance and that's what really gets us over the hump."
Sanfilippo added of Paul's goal, "They earned it. That second goal was a beautiful goal. I give credit to (Paul); he made a nice touch in the goal box with pressure on him."
Edwardsville added an insurance goal in the 74th minute when Hamad fired in a shot on an assist by Paul to elevate it to 3-1.
Overall the Tigers outshot the Explorers 9-2 in the game.
If recent history has anything to say, the loss could bode well for Marquette. The Explorers beat EHS 4-3 last year and the Tigers went on to win the Class 3A state championship. In 2012, Edwardsville walloped Marquette 7-1 and the Explorers secured the Class 1A state title that season. As Marquette enters the Class 2A ranks this season, Sanfilippo quipped that Monday's win could mean good things for his program.
"I did say that to the guys and it is a good motivational speech," Sanfilippo said, laughing. "But I do feel like there is an opportunity for us to go long, but we have to continue to play like this. If we don't play like this, we're not going to make it."
Next up for the Explorers is a 7 p.m. match tonight at Greenville.