Tony Marchegiano is a soccer rarity. The Glenelg midfielder is one of those select few who has a natural talent for scoring goals.
The third-year team captain leads the county with 10 goals and has scored in seven of nine games.
His header with 10 seconds left in regulation capped a stirring Glenelg rally that sent last Wednesday's game into overtime against Hammond. After scoring twice in the final two minutes, the Gladiators lost in overtime, 3-2.
"Anyone else taking that shot with 10 seconds left probably would have choked," Glenelg coach John Bouman said. "But Tony is very composed in front of the goal. He's very cool about it."
"Composure is the main key to finishing," Marchegiano said. "I learned that while playing for the Darby. But I couldn't be getting these goals without Reg Brown and Aaron Shea."
The Columbia Darby is a top-level club team that Marchegiano has played on as a nonstarter for three years.
"It helps me just being on the same team with some of the top players in the nation," he said.
Marchegiano is disappointed with Glenelg's 4-4 record, which includes three overtime losses.
But he's pleased with his personal fortunes -- with the exception that he'd like to get an assist.
"Most people want goals. I want some assists," he said with a laugh.
Marchegiano was switched from forward to center midfield this season to enable him to help out defensively. An early-season experiment at sweeper failed. It was the only game in which he didn't score.
"I like midfield better because I like being around the ball and winning balls in the air," he said.
That is one of his strengths.
"He stays focused and doesn't close his eyes when he's in the air," Bouman said. "He also gets good power with his head."
About half of Marchegiano's goals have come off set plays -- NTC most of those from headers.
Marchegiano is an intense competitor. He also knows his weaknesses and constantly is trying to improve. "He's eager to adapt to whatever it takes to be a leader," Bouman said.
Because Marchegiano is only 5 feet 9 and 145 pounds, top Division I schools have not called. But he has received interest from Virginia Tech, Vermont and Delaware.
"I definitely want to play for a Division I school," Marchegiano said. "I'm waiting to play in the Capitol Cup in December. Hopefully, some scouts will see me there."
Marchegiano, who has 25 career goals, carries a 3.1 grade-point average and scored an 1,160 on the Scholastic Assessment Test. He also versatile, playing point guard for the basketball team.
But soccer commands his attention right now. As a freshman, he played on Glenelg's state Class 2A championship team and would like another state title.
"I'm excited about our playoff chances, and am just hoping my [scoring] luck continues," he said.