Prep boys soccer: Shaneberger clinches Marquette title in Traverse City

TRAVERSE CITY – Hunter Shaneberger left nothing to chance on fellow junior teammate Andrew Banitt’s shot.

And it paid dividends as the only goal in Marquette’s 1-0 victory in the championship game over the host team at the Traverse City Christian Tournament on Saturday afternoon.

Just six minutes into the game, Banitt took a ball that was played through the TCC defense and pushed it past the Sabres netminder before Shaneberger got to it and kicked it in to insure no defender would make a last-second save.

“That was really Andrew’s goal, he did all the work on it,” Shaneberger said.

The Redmen defense made sure the score held up, allowing just one shot to get to their goalie, senior Tony Lackey, as they wrapped up a three-win day downstate and extended their unbeaten streak to 10 games in improving to 11-4-1.

“I’ll have to check to make sure, but I think we’ve kept every team we’ve played since we started the streak to single-digits in shots,” MSHS coach Matt Tebo said.

It was certainly true Saturday, as Marquette’s three opponents combined for just nine shots with only six of those reaching Lackey.

“Our guys are really communicating and playing with a team mentality now,” Tebo said. “It’s something you can stress, but not anything you can really teach. You either have it or you don’t.”

Marquette opened Saturday with a 3-1 victory over Elk Rapids with junior Max Bednarek scoring the first two goals off assists from Banitt and senior Chris Amundsen.

But it was Lackey that had the game’s high and low points. Just three minutes in, Lackey couldn’t handle a wet ball on an innocent cross-goal pass that gave Elk Rapids a 1-0 lead.

Then with 10 minutes to go and his team ahead 2-1, Lackey faced a penalty kick with no teammate around to help him, a situation even a world-class goalie usually couldn’t do much about.

But Lackey came up with a kick-save that sent the ball flying over the crossbar and preserved the lead.

In the final minute, sophomore Lehomm Pickard added an insurance goal coming from senior Craig Ekstrum.

MSHS outshot the Elks, 19-3, putting 15 shots on goal to just two for ER.

The Redmen ended their next game early on the mercy rule, 8-0 over Sault Ste. Marie, scoring four times in what turned out to be the game’s final five minutes.

Bednarek had two goals and an assist, while senior James St. Cyr and junior Ben Wright each had a goal and an assist. Sophomores Preston Marchant, Tanner Carriere and Joe Weber added single tallies.

Marquette had 26 shots, 13 on goal, to just four total shots and two on goal for the Blue Devils.