Marvin Cadena gained a nickname this fall, and in the process earned a championship for his school.
The sophomore forward is now known around Morris Catholic as "The Machine.”
It’s a moniker that was earned for his playmaking and scoring prowess, which helped the Denville team advance to the NJSIAA Non-Public B final against Moorestown Friends on Sunday afternoon at Kean University.
Once he stepped on the field at the Union campus, The Machine put on a show.
First, he scored a brilliant goal, his 28th of the year, to open the scoring 7:38 in.
Then, less than four minutes later, he followed with his 17th assist by impressively setting up Anthony Pelaez for a score.
The Crusaders protected the lead the rest of the way, and notched a 2-0 victory for the program’s 12th state championship, and first since its historic run of seven consecutive titles ended in 2005.
Morris Catholic finishes 18-2-1, while Moorestown Friends concludes at 13-5-4.
"They started calling me that this year,” Cadena said of the nickname that was shouted frequently by the loud group of Morris Catholic supporters. "Starting out quick with a goal was great, and it dropped the heads of the other team.”
Isaiah Salme began the first scoring sequence by sending a pass from the center, inside of midfield, diagonally ahead toward Cadena on the left wing. One defender got to the ball first and tried to hit a short pass to a nearby teammate. Cadena instead intercepted that psss, and hit it forward a few yards toward goal by knocking it to his right while circling past the same defender on his left. He then continued on a path toward the net, and with another defender drawing near, he hit a six-yard shot into the goal.
"I had to dribble through two players and then went straight toward the goal,” he said. "I had to do whatever I could to help my team win.”
On the next goal, Cadena was at first tripped up near the left edge of the penalty area. He got up, juked and dribbled past that defender near the end line and continued on a path toward the goal. He then sent a diagonally pass outward toward Pelaez inside the box, who then curved a 15-yard shot off the upper portion of the right post and into the net. It was the 14th goal for Pelaez, who this year was also credited with 34 assists.
"It felt great to go upper-90,” he said.
Morris Catholic then protected the lead to record its ninth shutout, and third in four state tournament games. The Crusaders also closed out the year with a nine-game win streak.
"Getting those two quick goals was massive,” said Duncan Swanwick, the first-year coach at Morris Catholic. "That’s how we’ve played all year. We’ve scored early and try to press from the front. Marvin and Anthony have led us with goals and assists. We try to get out in front early as opposed to playing that slow, waiting game. You also can’t put into words what Marvin has meant. For a sophomore to score 28 goals, it’s unbelievable. They man-marked him today, and just could not contain him.”