MARQUETTE - Marquette Senior High School and Kingsford both learned something valuable from a 2-2 tie during a high school soccer game played at Kaufman Sports Complex in Marquette on Tuesday evening.
The game ended all knotted up between the Redmen and Flivvers when MSHS junior Andrew Banitt scored with 1:08 left as no overtime was played.
But it's still a result that had to please the upstart Flivvers more than the perennially strong Redmen.
Marquette Senior High School junior Benjamin Wright steals the ball from Kingsford High School junior Forrest Nelson during a match Tuesday at Kaufman Field in Marquette. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
MSHS senior goalie Tony Lackey fails to stop a penalty shot against Kingsford on Tuesday. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
"We go out with the idea of winning every game we play, but this is a good benchmark for our program," said Kingsford head coach Mike Milinski, whose team stands at 6-1-1.
He agreed, though, that Marquette was by far the best opponent his youthful team has faced this season. Kingsford has just one senior on its 19-man roster, which also includes 11 players who are freshmen and sophomores.
What heartened Marquette (7-4-1) and its head coach, Matt Tebo, was the late comeback. Even though Tuesday's result broke a five-game winning streak, it preserved Tebo's record of never having lost a home game in his fourth year as MSHS head coach.
"We had a sense of urgency we didn't have before that," Banitt said after Kingsford scored its go-ahead goal with 15:20 left on a free kick in the penalty area by junior Brett Milinski.
Tebo noted that half his team's shots after intermission came during the 14-plus minutes Kingsford held the lead.
Those shots included Banitt's as the clock wound toward a minute to go when sophomore Lehomm Pickard sent the ball from near the right corner to a streaking Banitt, who deflected the ball past Kingsford sophomore netminder Josh Hanson.
"Maybe we'll have to play from behind more often," Tebo said half-jokingly. "We just have to take that mentality and not be satisfied even when we aren't behind."
The Marquette coach did add he thought his team carried the play throughout as both of Kingsford's scores came off dead balls.
The Flivvers' first goal came about nine minutes into the second half off a corner kick that went directly to junior Collin Hirthe. He was standing at the left corner of the penalty box and got control of the ball with his back to the goal.
He made a quick spin and immediately took a shot. Though he couldn't scan the field for an opening, he also seemed to catch the MSHS defense and senior goalie Tony Lackey off-guard.
"I couldn't wait to see where everybody was," Hirthe said. "I just shot it and it went between the goalie's legs."
The Redmen, who totaled 16 shots with eight of them on goal, suffered from their season-long problem of not putting the ball into the net off quality scoring chances.
"We were a little flat after we got the lead," said junior Hunter Shaneberger, who put his team ahead 1-0 with 12:22 remaining in the first half off a pass from sophomore Joe Weber.
Shaneberger anticipated quickly sending the ball onto another teammate, but found no Kingsford defender converging on him.
"I guess they were thinking ahead to who I might pass it to," Shaneberger said. "I saw an opening from just outside the 18-yard box and it went in."
Lackey and Hanson each finished with six saves.