MARQUETTE - The Marquette Senior High School boys soccer team finished its season in style, winning all three of its games Saturday to capture the Marquette Varsity Soccer Invitational.
Playing at the Kaufman Sports Complex, the Redmen registered wins of 3-0 over Iron Mountain, 2-0 over Kingsford and 4-1 over Sault Ste. Marie to easily earn the title. The other team in the five-school field was Big Bay de Noc.
MSHS ended the season with 12 wins and a tie to finish with a 13-3-4 record.
Marquette's Alex Piotrowski, center, slides kicking the ball away from a Sault Ste. Marie player as the Redmen’s Collin Schwemin, right, comes near to help during the first half Saturday at the Marquette Varsity Soccer Invitational at Kaufman Sports Complex. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
"Overall, we played really well (Saturday)," Marquette head coach Matt Tebo said. "It was a great way to cap off a great season.
"I'm glad we didn't let down at all. Sometimes you can break down at the end of a long season."
As they have all season, seniors Aaron Bender and Kyle Carriere led the Redmen's offensive attack.
Bender, a striker, had six goals, including a three-goal hat trick against the Soo, and three assists Saturday to finish the season with 26 goals and 14 assists in 20 games.
Carriere, a center midfielder who also was available but never had to play as the team's emergency goalie, scored two goals and two assists to complete the campaign with 10 goals and 16 assists.
Sophomore goalie Tony Lackey allowed just one flukey goal on a wind-aided pass in the final game. But the shutdown MSHS defense allowed just five shots to reach their goalie all day.
Lackey was filling in as he has periodically for senior Hayden Rajala, who was playing with the Marquette Electricians junior hockey team Saturday.
Against Iron Mountain, Bender scored goals in the sixth and 11th minutes of the first half on chips that went over the goalie's head. Assists were credited to junior stopper Chad Ross and senior striker Alex Piotrowski.
Carriere made it 3-0 in the fifth minute after intermission after he took a pass from Bender then beat two defenders and the goalie for a wide-open look at the goal.
Marquette had 23 shots, 13 of them on net, while Lackey made two saves.
The Kingsford game was scoreless until the 28th minute, when Carriere, in the center of the field, took a pass wide from Bender and rocketed a shot into the corner of the net from about 20 yards out, according to Tebo.
Bender scored the other goal about six minutes into the second half off a pass from freshman Andrew Banitt.
The Redmen had 15 shots, eight on the net, while Lackey again had two saves, both in the first half.
Against the Soo, Bender twice broke ties with his first-half hat trick. He broke the scoreless deadlock in the seventh minute on a pass from Carriere before the Blue Devils tied it 1-1 about 10 minutes later.
Bender needed less than a minute after that to put his team ahead for good off a pass from junior center midfielder Billy Mullett, and added icing to the cake with a goal in the 24th minute from Carriere, who made a pass that just eluded the Soo's goalie and set up Bender.
Redmen junior center midfielder Marty Gray scored the only goal after intermission in the 16th minute on a lob over the goalie's head and an assist going to Bender.
The Soo had just two shots total in the game to 17 for Marquette, including 14 that were on net.