By AMANDA MONTHEI
For The Daily News
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.
Amanda Monthei/The Mining Journal Photo
Iron Mountain’s David Bogaudo, left, and Marquette’s Mike Mlsna fight for a loose ball in the finals of the Upper Peninsula Championships high school soccer tournament in Marquette.
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).
"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.
"I'm so proud of these kids this year," Iron Mountain coach Rob Bogaudo said. "These kids are true heros, warriors who went above and beyond on the field. Even when they have nothing left they just keep playing."
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.
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.
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.
"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."
A wrap-up of the soccer season will be published later this week.
"My defense for the whole year was the shing star of our team," Bogaudo said. "The way our defense played is what made our team so successful this year. Nick Cecconi, Lance Armstrong, Luke Zambon and Luke Carey. These guys just did an incredible job."
(Amanda Monthei is with The Mining Journal of Marquette)