MARQUETTE - After losing to Iron Mountain this season for the first time in the short history of the Mountaineers' program, the Marquette Senior High School boys' soccer team finally leveled the playing field on Saturday afternoon at the Upper Peninsula Championships.
Despite a last-minute surge from Iron Mountain, the Redmen walked away with a 2-1 win after winning two other times earlier in the day. It puts the teams' record at 2-2 against each other this season.
"It was exactly what I expected, a tough day," MSHS head coach Matt Tebo said. "(Iron Mountain) came at us like I thought they would. We just outmatched them today, and I say today because they've already beaten us twice (this season).
Iron Mountain’s David Bogaudo, left, and Marquette’s Mike Mlsna fight for a loose ball in the final game of Saturday’s Upper Peninsula Championships high school soccer tournament in Marquette. (Journal photo by Amanda Monthei)
"It went our way today. We played really well and we did it when it counted."
IM scored its only goal with 2:15 left, creating a last-minute surge after the game was mostly controlled by the Redmen.
Sophomore Andrew Banitt wrapped up his second season with the varsity Redmen by scoring a goal in all three of Saturday's games. MSHS defeated both Kingsford and Ironwood 2-0 earlier in the tournament before facing the Mountaineers for the championship.
"I thought we did really well all day, we controlled pretty much every game and we kept it in their half and were able to finish," Banitt said. "Whenever we play Iron Mountain, it's a close game. We've lost to them twice this year and we've beat them twice, so it's even now."
Banitt's goal against IM came at 7:42 of the first half from a pass by freshman Lehomm Pickard. Also scoring was senior Billy Mullett on a penalty kick in the second half.
"I just think that from Day 1 to now, they've developed into working as a team," Tebo said. "There are no individual performances, they're always being unselfish and looking out for each other and playing as a group.
"Nobody can compare with that. We have a lot of options to score goals and if (opponents) try to cheat a different way, then they leave one of our players open. We have a lot of lethal players, and they really do a good job of using each other."
Iron Mountain's goal came off a corner kick from Mountaineer midfielder Nick Brule, which, after some confusion between Marquette goalie Tony Lackey and a teammate, managed to slide into the net as a Marquette own-goal.
The goal was the only one that Lackey allowed all day as he accumulated four saves over three games. Marquette notched 44 total shots, 28 of which were on goal.
"Iron Mountain beat us for the first time this year, and that was in Iron Mountain," Tebo said of the ongoing rivalry with the Mountaineers. "I thought that was a tough loss and then they scored on us when we were in Eagle River (Wis.) with 40 seconds left on the clock after we dominated the game, so that was kind of a heartbreaker.
"I was also prepared for that right here today, with that last goal with two minutes left and us up 2-0, if they put another one in and put us into extra time, they would have sealed the deal on the heartbreak.
"But I don't know, the kids stuck with it and worked hard and we got what we deserved."
Amanda Monthei can be reached at 228-2500 or at firstname.lastname@example.org