Mariani’s hat trick helps put Tigers into district semifinals

Mozer also scores twice as Holy Trinity wins 7-0


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Holy Trinity's Jackson Mariani had a hat trick and the Tigers defeated John Carroll 7-0 Friday night in the Class 3A, District 10 quarterfinals Friday night.

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

They knew the goals would come.

Rather than get frustrated when a number of potential scoring chances didn’t go their way early on in Friday Night’s Class 3A, District 10 quarterfinals, the members of the Holy Trinity Tigers boys soccer team simply kept pressing forward.

And when the goals did come, they came in bunches.

Senior Jackson Mariani, in just his fourth game playing striker, had a hat trick and senior Ryan Mozer added two more as the Tigers rolled to a 7-0 victory over John Carroll at Catherine A. Ford Field.

The win puts the third-seeded Tigers (8-4-4) into the district semifinals Tuesday against No. 2 West Shore (7-7-5). That game is set for 5 p.m. at West Shore.

“Everyone played hard, took care of business early,” Holy Trinity senior Eddie Marr said after Friday night’s win. “We got a couple of good goals. Jackson had an incredible game, got a hat trick. It was really positive for everyone.”

The Tigers, who pressed the action most of the night, were called for a number of offside penalties as they tried to create breakaway situations. They were also stopped on several shots early on.

“The first 20 minutes, I think we got called offside at least seven or eight times,” Marr said. “It was frustrating not scoring, but I knew we were controlling the game. I knew once one (goal) came in, we were just going to keep going and going.

“… We knew it was coming. No one was playing scared or anything like that. Maybe if they were to nick a goal early, the outcome could have changed. But were just trying to play confident, get our goal and just keep going after that.”

Holy Trinity’s first goal came with 6:23 remaining in the first half when Mozer was able to turn and fire a shot past the keeper to put the Tigers up 1-0.

Four minutes later, Holy Trinity had a 3-0 advantage as Mariani was able to net two quick goals.

Holy Trinity started out quickly again in the second half as Lucas Dutra scored off a free kick by Marr and Mozer added his second goal of the night moments later to make it 5-0.

After Mariani scored to put the Tigers up 6-0 – and get his hat trick – Hunter Hammond netted a goal for Holy Trinity for the Tigers’ final goal of the night.

Mariani, who thanked his teammates for helping set him up to score, said there were a number of factors in getting his goals.

“It was a combination of right place, right time, reading the defense, staying onside and finishing,” Mariani said. “And once I’m there, you have to make the right finish to get it past the goalie.”

The hat trick was a first for Mariani. In fact, all three goals were the first he has scored for the Tigers after being moved to striker.

“I played center back throughout most of the season,” he said. “The coach recently made a decision that we need someone big up top, someone who can finish up top, so he put me up there.

“I struggled a little bit in my first three games, didn’t get any goals. But tonight, it all kind of came together and I got my three goals. I’m really happy about that.”

Marr, meanwhile, had nothing but praise for his teammate.

“He was incredible tonight,” Marr said. “He was at center back for a while and then we moved him to striker because we were trying to find something new.

“For him to come out here in a district quarterfinal, in a big game with a pretty big atmosphere, and for him to score three goals like that, it was really good for him. He played incredible.”

Tigers coach and Holy Trinity alumnus Adrian Moreno knows all too well the pressures of playing in the district tournament. And he, too, was happy with the way his team performed Friday night.

“We played pretty decent,” Moreno said. “The first 25 minutes were a little shaky. I think we were trying to overcomplicate how we were playing.

“Once we got that first goal from Ryan, it just lit everything up. Everyone was more comfortable and fluid with the ball.”

Because the Tigers were able to build such a big lead, they were also able to empty their bench and also get a few players called up from the JV team some valuable playing time.

“It was good to get everyone in because all of those kids, besides Xzavier (Robertson) are all sophomores and juniors,” Moreno said. “They’re going to be the future, the kids coming on to take the positions of the seniors. I wanted to see what they could do.

“You never know what happens in the playoffs.”

At the start of the season, the Tigers talked about feeling a little overlooked and how that might fuel them throughout the season.

Well, here we are, in the district semifinals, and that feeling hasn’t gone away.

“We’ve had some pretty big results recently,” Marr said. “We tied Viera. … We’ve been playing really well and no one’s really been saying anything.

“We’ll just keep going on with our momentum. No need to brag if we keep getting results. It’s easy to fly under the radar.”