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Boys soccer: The finishing touch: Capitalizing on chances all that's lacking for Marcus
Last season, Marcus' boys soccer team was flush with fresh faces as the Marauders had 22 players new to varsity.
But that didn't slow down the club, as Marcus was atop the district standings for much of the season before settling for third and punching their 21st consecutive postseason ticket.
Now, with a majority of the roster back, the Marauders have lofty expectations and have gotten out to a 2-1-1 start.
The squad defeated Fort Worth Nolan, 2-1, and Sachse, 3-0, but came up short against Skyline, 3-2, and played Keller to a 2-2 draw.
"It's very exciting time for us," said John Gall, Marcus head coach. "The results have been a little disappointing with a loss and a tie, but our general play and our attitude has been very good. We just made a few mistakes on defense and didn't capitalize on our chances."
Gall is confident the Marauders will come around offensively, in particular with a multitude of scoring opportunities.
"We're a forward-thinking team, but it's a process," he said. "The hardest thing is scoring goals and that's the toughest thing for everyone. We're creating a lot, we just need a little more composure. That's the only piece that is missing right now."
Forwards for Marcus include Haiden Stiles, Victor Villarreal and Hank Steinhafel.
"Haiden is very explosive and very dynamic," Gall said. "And Victor led us in scoring last year."
The Marauders will also count on scoring from their midfielders, which include Blake Barnes, Tyler Mouton and captain Alex Totilo.
"We have a host of midfielders," Gall said. "Alex was very good last year, but we are expecting a breakout year from him this season. We need him to continue to be consistent but we also need him to be a game changer. He had two great goals against Nolan and we need that more often than not.
"And Blake and Tyler do a great job of possessing the midfield and I'm very excited about what those two are going to do for us this year."
The attack isn't limited to forwards and midfielders, however, as Gall and the Marauders like to push forward from the backline as well.
Marcus' defense features captain Dalton Nusz, Logan Plunkett and Sam Pacifico.
"We look to them for leadership, especially Dalton," Gall said. "He has started very well and Logan and Sam are doing a good job on the outside. We very much like for our outside fullbacks to be attack-minded. They know their defensive responsibilities but can still get forward."
Gall has been pleased with the rest of the roster as well.
"We have a good bench, too," he added. "We had a great JV season last year and guys with varsity experience off the bench. I'm comfortable with our depth."
Marcus will yet again have tough sledding to make it out of a District 5-5A that includes Coppell, Denton Ryan, Flower Mound, Hebron and Lewisville.
"It's going to be very challenging, especially when you're adding a perennial power like Coppell," Gall said. "Our LISD rivals always make it very difficult for us and I envision a dogfight for all 10 games. And I don't want to discount what Denton Ryan can do either."
Marcus continues at 7:45 p.m. Tuesday against Colleyville Heritage before hosting the Marcus Cup Thursday-Saturday.
"The important thing is that we are creating chances at this stage of the season and we've been creating a ton," Gall said. "I think we're a step ahead of our opponents in terms of our general play. We just have to do a better job of finishing them. A couple of our matches should have been done and dusted at halftime but we didn't put them away. We're young and playing with confidence, but the mistakes we are making, we are getting punished for."