LAKEVILLE — Holding a 7-0 lead in the second half, Marquette boys soccer coach Austin Cogdill wasn't pleased entirely with his team's performance.
He wanted more.
"Guys, we're not focused enough," he preached. "We need 10 goals."
The Blazers appeased their coach's wishes, as senior Paco Alonzo netted one with less than two minutes remaining to give Cogdill's squad a 10-goal lead. It was Alonzo's third goal of the game, joining senior Ian Baker in Marquette's hat-trick club for the night.
"We've had some trouble putting the ball in the back of the net this year," Cogdill said. "But clearly, that wasn't an issue tonight. We've really been practicing our shooting hard lately and it paid off tonight. If we can convert on our opportunities the way we did tonight, we can definitely pull out a win Saturday."
The Blazers' 10-0 win over Westville on Wednesday placed them in a sectional finals matchup with a Morgan Township team that upset favored host LaVille right before Marquette's contest with the Blackhawks. A combination of not having to face the sectional favorites and winning by 10 gives Cogdill and his team some much-needed confidence, considering how their season ended.
"We ended the year 6-8, which obviously isn't ideal for us," Cogdill said. "We ran into a few really talented teams down the later part of the year, which shaped our record into what it is. We lost some confidence because of those recent losses, but I think that's all gone now after how we played tonight."
Baker, the Blazers' captain, concurred.
"I mean, scoring 10 goals gives us a ton of confidence," he said. "We're feeling really good about ourselves and the way we're playing right now. If we keep executing what we've worked on in practice the last few weeks, I feel good about our chances. It helps a lot to have Kieran (Larkin) and Paco back, too. They didn't play for a while this year, but we're a way better team with them in, as you saw tonight. They're a couple of really talented players that really open everything up for us."
Larkin and Alonso combined for four goals — five if you include a Westville own-goal that occurred following a Larkin cross. The two's talent was on full display, and the result was indicative of the impact they had on their teammates. Both control the ball exceptionally well, have great patience to find the open man, and can score in bunches.
Their ability to possess the ball helped Marquette control it all game long, pushing the defense higher than usual, past half-field. The Blazers' defense was elite Wednesday, as the Blackhawks accumulated just a single shot on goal all night. It came via a free kick in the 40th minute following what was a very questionable foul called against Marquette that looked like it should have gone the other way.
"Yeah, I was kind of bored back there," said Marquette keeper Lee Kellom. "I'm not complaining or anything, though. Our defense was awesome."
A complete all-around game such as Wednesday's bodes well for a Blazers team looking to build off of some momentum before Saturday's finals matchup. Cogdill told his players that if they come into it with as much intensity, focus and patience as they did against Westville, they'll take home a trophy.
Class A LaVille Sectional
AT NEWTON PARK
Marquette vs. Morgan Township, 1 p.m.