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Marist sees better days ahead after rough start to season

By Steve Millar
Correspondent

It’s been a tough start for Marist against a loaded schedule.

But after the RedHawks fought back again and again in a 3-2 loss to 2021 Class 2A state runner-up Joliet Catholic on April 6 night at Joliet Memorial Stadium, there were plenty of reasons to think things are going to turn around.

“I’m very proud of the way this team has handled the beginning of the season,” said Marist assistant coach Sean Maxwell, who led the team against the Angels in the absence of head coach Chris Roe. “A lot of teams would get discouraged and stop playing. We battled all the way until the end and found a way to score one more.

“It’s a no-quit team and eventually the results are going to come with that because of their attitude.”

Sophomore midfielder Lauren Torres and junior midfielder Alexis Schackelford scored goals for Marist (0-5-1, 0-2 East Suburban Catholic). Senior goalkeeper Rayne Cave made three saves.

After a scoreless first half, Joliet Catholic (4-1, 1-0) struck for two quick goals early in the second half.

Ella Dwyer scored with 34:38 seconds left in the game and Liz Cardwell made it 2-0 just over three minutes later.

The RedHawks, though, responded quickly.

On a free kick from 35 yards out, senior defender Kate Boyle sent a dangerous ball into the box. Senior midfielder Grace Kennedy took a touch and slipped the ball across to Torres, who ripped it into the back of the net to make it 2-1 with 27:59 to go.

Torres, a reserve, had just entered the game moments earlier.

“I just subbed in and I felt like I had to meet the intensity and bring up the team,” Torres said. “We got a free kick and I remember just looking for the ball. Grace brought it down and I just finished it, just put it into the corner.”

Maxwell was impressed.

“That was a big one,” he said. “[Torres] does some good things for us and obviously putting that one away gave us a bit of hope.”

Torres is working hard to make an impact when she gets into the game.

“Coming off the bench, you want to prove to your coach and team that you can help them out and lift them up,” she said. “You just have to keep a positive mentality.”

The RedHawks had a couple chances at the tying goal, including a Katie Pawlecki shot from 35 yards that was saved by Joliet Catholic goaltender Mary Pietras.

The Angels, though, regained their two-goal advantage on Dwyer’s second goal of the game with 7:14 to go.

Marist still did not give up, though, even in the final minute.

With time ticking away, senior defender Sarah Immordino made a strong run down the right side and played a cross to Shackelford at the far post, where Shackelford finished.

That made it 3-2, but only 19 seconds remained.

“I think the girls did really good not giving up and not putting their heads down,” Torres said. “At 3-1, it wasn’t too close of a game, but we didn’t give up yet and we made it a better result.

“We just have to keep our heads up. We’re just getting started and this is just the beginning.”

With a 1-1 tie over a strong Andrew team prior to last Wednesday’s battle with Joliet Catholic, Maxwell believes Marist is producing encouraging results.

“Even the Benet game (a 5-1 loss on April 2), we were up 1-0 with 25 minutes left,” Maxwell said. “We’ve been putting some good soccer together these past three games. We’ve started with a gauntlet.

“I think things are certainly going to turn around in terms of the win column, but right now I’m already happy with how they’re playing.”

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