MARQUETTE - When the Marquette Senior High School boys soccer team found itself trailing 1-0 midway through the first half against visiting Marinette (Wis.) Thursday night, it could have been a problem.
But the Redmen showed no panic. No urgency. Nothing to suggest they might be in trouble.
"We knew we had better control of the ball and the field (than Marinette)," sophomore Lehomm Pickard said. "We were confident we'd come back."
Marquette Senior High School junior Michael Wiitala (16) and Marinette senior Austin Mahlik (7) battle for a header in the first half on Thursday at the Kaufman Sports Complex in Marquette. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
That the Redmen did.
Junior Hunter Shaneberger notched a first-half goal and Pickard scored the game-winner with 19:12 left to give the Redmen a 2-1 victory over the Marines on Senior Night at the Kaufman Sports Complex.
The Redmen were so dominant, they forced Marinette goalkeeper Joseph Callow to make 14 saves while his MSHS counterpart, Tony Lackey, stopped just two - both in the second half.
"We're a hard-working team," Marquette head coach Matt Tebo said after his team improved to 15-5-1 this season. "The kids prove it every day."
Marinette (6-9) scored the match's first goal, however, on its only shot on net in the first half.
After Pickard hit the top right corner crossbar 14 minutes into the match, Austin Mahlik took a long pass, split the Marquette defense and went in alone on Lackey, putting a low shot to the goalkeeper's left at the 20:57 mark.
"It came off a beautiful, long pass from Denin Bieberitz," Marines coach Frank Pohlmann said. "Austin is extremely fast and has scored 15 goals this season."
Tebo said it was a "defensive error" on his team's part that led to the goal
"Our center defender got pulled to the side and (Mahlik) came back door," he said. "It was disappointing to get down when we dominated the match so much."
Shaneberger gave the Redmen a 1-1 tie with 6:14 remaining in the first half, however. He raced down the left side and converted a quick shot off an assist from Tanner Carriere.
Just six minutes into the second half, Marinette's Callow made a sliding, head-first save on a shot by Pickard to keep the score tied.
But Pickard wasn't to be denied with 19:12 left, scoring the game-winner.
"It was a low through ball across the net from Andrew (Banitt)," Pickard said. "I got a nice shield from Max (Bednarek), kept my head down and put it into the low right corner.
"Marinette played a good game. They were strong, but we have good field vision and can work the ball well. We definitely dominated."
Pickard hit the top crossbar on a shot shortly after his goal, while Lackey made a leaping save on a Mahlik shot with 13:50 left to preserve Marquette's win.
"Overall, it was an evenly-matched game," the Marines' Pohlmann said. "We came in as underdogs (but) played one of our better games.
"On the winning goal, two of our players ran into each other, which cleared a pass to the goal.
"Marquette was the better passing team," he added, "but we wanted to defend deep and frustrate them. Our counterattack worked well."