Updated: November 10, 2012 6:09AM
St. Laurence’s Luis Avila never expected to score a high school goal, but in his final regular-season game, coach Nate Grosse gave the defender a chance to play up front.
Avila didn’t wait long to take advantage, scoring less than two minutes into the match as the Vikings earned a rare win over Marist by a 2-0 count in Burbank.
“It was the first goal of my high school career and it felt great,” said Avila, who was carried on the shoulders of teammates after the match. “I wasn’t expecting to play forward at all, but it was great.”
On Senior Night, Avila’s goal was set up by two fellow seniors. Alejandro Unzueta made a run down the left sideline and sent a cross to Miguel Negrete, who was double-teamed but slipped a pass to Avila, who found the net with a high shot.
That was all the Vikings (11-6-1) needed with Dan Hecker in goal. The senior made four saves in the shutout.
After a sluggish first half, Marist (13-6-3) created some strong chances after the break. Jon Peters had a good chance off a nice pass from Matthew Poncer, but put his shot high.
The RedHawks came inches from the equalizer just past the midway point of the half when Eddie Cunningham’s corner kick found Mike Collevy, whose shot was deflected by Hecker and went off the crossbar.
“I’m not at all upset with the second half,” Marist coach Sean Maxwell said. “We had some really nice combinations and just didn’t finish. This was a wake-up call for us and definitely the best St. Laurence team I’ve seen since I’ve been here.”
Danny Buss’ goal with 10:33 left sealed the win for the Vikings.
“A lot of the guys know each other from club ball and they get up for Marist,” Grosse said. “This is the first time we’ve beaten them in a long time.”