IRON MOUNTAIN - Every Upper Peninsula high school boys soccer team aspires to become the first to knock off perennial powerhouse Marquette.
Entering this 2012 fall season, which begins for both Iron Mountain and Kingsford at Rhinelander this afternoon, the senior-loaded Mountaineers possess the talent to do just that.
"Clearly Marquette would be a feather in our cap," Mountaineers coach Rob Bogaudo said. "There are no U.P. teams that have beaten them. I really want to do that."
Theresa Peterson/The Daily News Photo
First-year head coach Alex Milinski (background) watches over Kingsford Flivvers soccer practice last week at Woodland Elementary School.
The Mountaineers came close last year, fighting to a 1-1 draw in a regular-season contest before the Redmen eventually prevailed in a shootout.
"It was a heart-breaking loss," Bogaudo said.
While Marquette graduated a number of its top players, the Mountaineers send eight seniors to the field this fall. They'll meet for the first time Tuesday, Sept. 4, at Kingsford's Commemorative Field.
"They lost some incredible players," Bogaudo said. "We will still have to deal with some others, but I think this year is our chance. We definitely want to beat Marquette. For these kids, I definitely want that more than anything."
Iron Mountain lost three seniors off last years squad, including speedy midfielder Taylor Hicks.
"That was a huge loss," Bogaudo said. "He is an incredible player, a force to be reckoned with in midfield. All of our departed seniors were good players."
Losses aside, the Mountaineer midfield still appears in fine form with senior Nick Brule leading the unit and other emerging players such as sophomore David Bogaudo working along side.
"Brule is a phenomenal finisher," noted new Kingsford head coach Alex Milinski. "He's got the pace. All they have to do is slide a ball in behind the back line and he's pretty much a guarantee to score."
Iron Mountain's senior class also includes all-state goalie Max Frorenza.
"If it wasn't for him last year, we would have had some different stories," Bogaudo said. "Max gives us strength in goal."
The remaining Mountaineer seniors, which include Lance Armstrong, Nick Cecconi, Tyler Martin, Luke Zambon, Henry Hakamaki and Luke Carey, represent the last of the Mountaineers original lineup from the kids who started the program in 2009.
"They've played together a while," Bogaudo said. "They've all been playing Northern Stars. They're soccer kids."
Iron Mountain's talent doesn't end with its senior class. Six juniors, five sophomores and one freshman complete the roster.
"We do have quite a bit of talent on the team and a range of age groups," Bogaudo noted.
Aggressive will probably best describe the Mountaineers approach this season. Bogaudo says his team will show multiple formations on the field.
"I want to be able to switch on the fly with the kids I have on the field," he said. "That's going throw some teams off."
While Frorenza gives Iron Mountain one of the best in net," Bogaudo feels reaching the goalie is going to be a challenge in itself.
"They way our defense is playing right now, most teams are really
going to have to fight to get around them and get something in the net," he said.
Following the weekend tournament in Rhinelander, Iron Mountain plays at Big Bay de Noc on Aug. 23. Mountaineers open the home campaign Thursday, Aug. 30, against Three Lakes.
"I'm excited about the year," Bogaudo said. "All eight of our seniors share the same drive. They all want it. They want it bad. We should be a force to be dealt with this year."
SENIORS Nick Brule, Lance Armstrong, Nick Cecconi, Max Frorenza,
Tyler Martin Luke Zambon, Henry Hakamaki, Luke Carey.
JUNIORS Patrick Healy, Matt Anderson, Marco Savarin, Sawyer Kujala,
Sam Carey, Garrett TeKampe.
SOPHOMORES Daivd Bogaudo, Derek Klarich, Nathan Trepp, Conor Larson,
FRESHMEN Ty Sullivan.