Let the running of the gauntlet begin.
As the St.Joe’s Marauders soccer team heads into the final week of the regular season one look at the schedule shows that the final leg will be anything but easy.
While having three games in four days is a challenge for any squad, the Marauders will be facing two high quality non-league opponents in Sweet Home (Monday) and Lackawanna (Tuesday) before wrapping up the year at home against arch nemesis Canisius.
Ben Galkiewicz scored the lone goal and Carmine Tronolone,Jr., got the shutout when St.Joe’s edged St. Francis 1-0 on Oct.7 as the Marauders ran their winning streak to in five in a row going into the final week of the regular season.
“It was a great game,” said Tronolone. “We had to come out today and take care of business. Every point matters, every game for the (regular season) championship. We gotta win ’em all. St.Francis played a great game, real physical. It took a second for us to get used to that, but once we got used to that we were real good.”
The physical test that St.Francis provided will likely serve the Marauders well when they play Lackawanna at home on Tuesday at 4:30. Quick and skilled, it’s no secret that the Steelers push the envelop on the physical play in an attempt to get under their opponents skin.
ECIC II Sweet Home, who will host St.Joe’s under the lights at 7pm, will be another talented opponent.
The biggest challenge for the Marauders will be to not get so wrapped up in awaiting their return match with Canisius that they look past Sweet Home and Lackawanna.
The Marauders do have it within them to take it one day at a time and not worry about Canisius until the other two games are completed. Tronolone said facing a tough week is par for the course for 2016, as the team has played with a kind of us against the world mind set.
“No one thought we were gonna be good this year but us and it came together nice,” Tronolone said. “We’ve got great chemistry with the boys. We’re all close. We’re all a great group of friends. We hang out, outside school. It’s just a real team effort.”
The injury bug has definitely taken a few bites out of the St.Joe’s roster. Most notably Spencer Frome, who has been out of action for a month.
Thoin said that the team has played well together but that the offensive output needs to be better. Using the tee-to-green golf analogy, Thoin said they are doing a great job creating chances. Now they have to cash in on them more frequently.
“Carmine has been playing great. My backline has been stellar,” said Thoin. “Mike Wright is the only defender who has played every minute all year long. He’s stepped up big time. He’s doing a really good job for us.”
Falling to Canisius 1-0 in their first meeting of the season, the Marauders (10-2-1 overall) know that a win Thursday would give them a share of the regular season league title. But they also know the long term picture-states-is ultimately bigger.
“It’s gonna be an interesting week. We have three really tough opponents,” Thoin said. “If we play the way we are capable of there’s no reason why we can’t get three wins, but we’ve got to play our game.”
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