Caravan soccer scores Catholic League title

Your 2021 Catholic League champion Caravan soccer team is all smiles after the big win.

Manuel Medina

Your 2021 Catholic League champion Caravan soccer team is all smiles after the big win.

The Mount Carmel Caravan varsity soccer team won the Catholic League on October 12, beating the Marmion Cadets 3-2. The game had been delayed by a week due to severe weather issues. 

Marmion came into the match with a record of 11 wins, 7 losses, and two draws and ranked among the top 100 teams in Illinois. The Caravan held a record of 11 wins, 3 losses, and a draw, and they were favorites to win. The Caravan varsity team is ranked number 14 in the state and they are in the top 150 teams in the country. The winner of this game would go home carrying their plaque with their names on it and being Catholic League champions. The Caravan needed a win and the Marmion Cadets only needed to hold them to a draw or beat them because the Cadets held a better Catholic League record. 

The Caravan were the first to score when captain Marco Valencia scored a free kick from outside the 18-yard box. The other first-half goal was scored by sophomore Diego Zarate off a deflection of another shot off the opposing keeper. By the second half whistle the Caravan led 2-0.

Caravan center back Sebastian Palma caused a penalty in the box after a challenge against a Marmion play in the box. The penalty was taken against sophomore goalkeeper Efraian Farias, and the Cadet penalty kick hit the right post and went into the net. The Cadets then received another penalty and they went straight down the middle to tie the score 2-2. 

With less than 20 minutes left on the clock the Caravan had to find a way to score or they would have to go back to 6410 without that plaque. The team’s top goal scorer Valencia received a cross from junior Irving Moreno with a little less than 15 minutes on the clock. The ball was crossed from the right side of the field and the captain hit it in with a diving header into the bottom left. The final score was 3-2. 

“I feel very ecstatic and I’m really muddy right now,” said Valencia afterward. “We went into this game knowing we had to win and I feel like my teammates and I were ready for the challenge. The game being delayed gave us time to relax and get some confidence after beating De La Salle and scoring more than 5 goals in that game.” 

The game-winning goal was obviously huge. “I got the cross from my teammate and it was a little low but I knew that my team needed me to put the ball into the back of the net,” said Valencia. ”We came this far and I had to put my body on the line. I dived straight and the ball went into the back of the net. I had to dive into the mud but it was worth every moment and every stain I got on my jersey.” 

How does a Catholic League championship feel? “I honestly feel like we deserved it,” said MC senior and fellow captain Christian Leon, who now has two Catholic League titles under his belt. “I won my first Catholic League freshman year, and I won it again in my final year of high school.”

Coach Manuel Medina appreciates how his team’s work all season has paid off. “We deserved this win because we fought hard and long for this moment,” he said.” “Every game we played led up to this one right here. I’m proud of my boys for adapting to these harsh field conditions but they did it and I never doubted them.” 

The Caravan had accomplished their goal and got their long-awaited Catholic League title. Now they go onto face Hubbard on Wednesday, October 20, in the Illinois state playoffs. The Caravan hopes to bring a soccer state title into the school.