It's a simple equation in the Wisconsin prep boys' soccer world.
"You always want to be the one who beats Marquette," said Menomonee Falls coach Scott Stein, "...but if you want to do that, you have to finish your opportunities."
"Because they're just so efficient with theirs."
And that was the case Wednesday night on the Indians' pitch, as the three-time defending WIAA state champion Hilltoppers converted on just enough of their chances to overpower the Indians in a Greater Metro Conference match-up, 3-1.
"We felt good about competing and our attitude is still good," added Stein, "but if we had been able to convert our chances a little bit the outcome could have been different."
And Marquette coach Steve Lawrence knows that is true as his team improved to 4-0-2 overall and 2-0 in league play while the Indians fell to 1-1 in GMC play and 7-1 overall.
"Falls has been very tough for us the last four or five years and we knew that this would be some tough competition," said Lawrence. "So this was a good win. We know that their team will be there in the end (in the GMC)."
But that is a tall mountain to climb for Falls and the other teams in the state. Since it joined the WIAA in 2000, Marquette has won nine state titles and has advanced to the state tournament every year it's been eligible.
So Falls had to be feeling good early Wednesday night when Marquette actually did miss out on a couple of chances, including a shot that hit the crossbar. For the most part the first half was very even.
But the Hilltoppers started their pattern of effciency midway through the session. They took the lead for good when two reserves made a play. Junior forward Ted Beiser made a strong run through the middle of the field and laid it off to junior midfielder Samson D'Amato off on the right side about 15 yards out.
D'Amato then launched a perfect shot to the far left post at the 22:14 mark.
"We lost control of our mark a little on that play and that hurt," said Stein.
"That was a great build-up (by Beiser)," said Lawrence, "and then a great run by Samson. We needed it and were able to get our energy settled after that."
Both teams had good chances before the break, but Hilltopper senior keeper Corey Jolitz was able to make one good save off a rebound of a Falls' corner kick.
Marquette turned up the intensity in the first 15 minutes of the second half, and it paid off with the clinching goals. The first one came from junior forward Michael von Estorff in the 49th minute, as he launched a bomb of a shot from about 30 yards out that found the upper left corner of the net.
Then four minutes later, senior midfielder Danny Jarosz took a free kick from about 15 yards out from the left side. It got over the Indian wall and curled away from Falls goalie Will Genthe into the left side of the net.
"One play the ball knuckled on Will, and the other we were just beat," said Stein.
"The first 10 or 15 minutes of each half, we like to get on teams with our energy, get them on the defensive," said Lawrence.
Falls did get on the board in the 63rd minute with a goal by senior co-captain Nick Gonzales off a corner kick. The Indians did play with some energy of their own down the stretch and were able to create a couple of decent opportunities though nothing came of them.
Again, efficiency was the watchword.
"We took advantage of the opportunities that we created," said Lawrence. "We wanted to be a little more direct and not over-possess. I thought we finished well."
"We talked about trying to play the way we wanted to (and not their way)," said Stein. "Keep possession and create opportunities. We just dropped our heads a little at times."
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