MICHIGAN CITY – Omar Serrano saw his opportunity.
As Michigan City trailed Marquette Catholic 2-1, Serrano was awarded a free kick outside the penalty box in the 51st minute. It wouldn’t take long for the senior midfielder to make up his mind either, as he immediately placed the ball down and fired a rocket into the top corner to tie the game.
“You don’t have to wait until the ref blows the whistle, I scored one like that last year,” Serrano said. “I saw the goalie front post and the whole goal was open so I had to take advantage. It was just something instinctual where they weren’t prepared so I had to take advantage of the situation. I couldn’t wait and let them get ready.”
The Wolves senior later added goals in the 69th and the 74th for the hat trick as part of a four-goal second half in the 5-3 victory over the Blazers on Saturday afternoon at the Marquette Athletic Complex.
“We started talking and connecting and had better team play in the second half,” Serrano said. “We played flat-footed in the first half. We knew being down 2-1 we had to score a couple two win since we didn’t wanna tie.
“I think that free kick gave us some momentum. We started on our front foot in the second half and I was proud of the team and how we overcame that adversity. It’s hard coming back from a halftime deficit.”
City coach David Harris said Serrano is someone that will be leaned upon heavily.
“He’s worked hard to become somebody who’s really clinical,” Harris said. “His third goal, just that movement on the ball from him wrong-footing the keeper was awesome. We’re going to look to him to create and to score. He’s got a lot on his shoulders, but I think he wants that.
“He’s someone that’s improved all-around, but his leadership has stood out this year. He was a quieter guy as an underclassman, but now he’s ready to take the bull by the horns and push us towards the finish line.”
Zachary Parker scored a goal in the 22nd minute, with Nicholas Bednar tallying the initial go-ahead goal in the 56th for the Wolves (1-1).
“We were pretty good defensively, they weren’t picking us apart,” Harris said. “We were just playing one extra pass or one extra touch when we didn’t need to instead of playing to different spaces. We really refocused on what we wanted to do.
“Our shape didn’t really change. We just took advantage of spaces we saw in the first half.”
Ian Baker had a pair of goals on free kicks from nearly 50 yards out for the Blazers (1-1). He added an assist on a Paco Alonzo goal. The loss of freshman Kieran Larkin in the second half seemed to have adverse effects.
“We had a couple guys that needed to come out with minor injuries and that did change the pace of the game,” Marquette coach Austin Cogdill said. “Overall, we just had trouble connecting and with 50-50 balls.”
City 5, Marquette 3
Ian Baker had two goals and an assist for the Blazers.