MARQUETTE - Unlike the age-old chicken-and-egg argument, no one has to answer which came first for the Marquette Senior High School girls soccer team - the suffocating defense or the awe-inspiring offense?
MSHS just rode its dominant play in all phases of the game to an easy undefeated day at the Upper Peninsula Championships held at Kaufman Sports Complex in Marquette on Saturday.
Defensively, the Redettes didn't give up a goal in three games, but would it have made any difference if they had, considering they scored at least six goals in two of the three games?
Marquette’s Makaela Burse, right, passes the ball to a teammate as Hancock’s Tristan Baranowski moves in to defend during the first half of a game during the Upper Peninsula Championships held at the Kaufman Sports Complex in Marquette on Saturday. (Journal photo by Zach Jay)
"(Saturday) just says a lot for my defense and how other teams couldn't handle our speed," said a diplomatic Marquette coach Dan LeBert.
"We've had other (Marquette) teams with really talented players, but not with this many that were so talented. We probably have 14 or 15 players who deserve to start, but you only have room for 11 on the field at one time. So I do a lot of rotating.
"It's a good problem to have. They all show up for practice every day and they're all talented."
The shutdown defense was led by sophomores Allie Hillier and Mikayla Blight, freshman Lexi Guidebeck and senior Kate Garrow working in front of freshman goalie Molly Gaudreau.
LeBert also had high praise for the transition players between the offense and defense, particularly sophomore Shelby Ross and junior Riley O'Connor.
Marquette, which finished the season at 11-2, won what LeBert termed the Varsity Division with a 3-0 record, beating Kingsford 2-0, Iron Mountain 6-0 and Hancock 8-0 in a game called early due to the mercy rule.
"Kingsford kept probably eight players back, and that made it hard to set up for a quality shot," LeBert said about the lowest-scoring game for the Redettes. "This is the third time we've played them this season, so they had an idea of how they should approach a game with us."
On the other hand, with most of the Flivvers' players bottled up in their defensive end, Marquette was able to roll up a 16-4 advantage just in the shots that opposing goalies were forced to save.
Sophomore Makaela Burse opened the scoring less than 10 minutes into the game with O'Connor getting the assist.
In the second half, sophomore Carleigh Hillier got Marquette's other goal on a nice pass from sophomore Casey Durand. Durand brought the ball through the offensive zone, garnering a lot of Kingsford attention, before she passed it off to Hillier.
Gaudreau made four saves in net for the Redettes, then played just the first half of the following game against Iron Mountain.
MSHS outshot the rebuilding Mountaineers, 30-0, scoring three goals in each half. Getting scores were Burse, O'Connor, Carleigh Hillier, freshman Madison Rieboldt, junior Madison Shinners and senior Sille Hendriksen.
Junior Laura Slavsky had two assists while Gaudreau got one after moving out onto the field and letting Guidebeck take over in goal for the second half.
In the Hancock game, which was called with about 12 minutes to go because of the eight-goal mercy rule, Burse accumulated two goals and three assists, while Shinners and Carleigh Hillier each scored twice, Guidebeck and Hendriksen had one goal apiece and O'Connor notched three assists.
Shot totals weren't available from this game.
Hancock finished second in the Varsity Division after tying Kingsford and defeating Iron Mountain, while the Flivvers were third with a win over the Mountaineers.
In the JV Division that included just three teams, the Marquette JV won after beating the Hurley, Wis., varsity, 5-0, and Cheboygan JV, 7-0.