Spartan kickers knock off Hibbing, fall to Marshall
The Hibbing Blue Jackets and Superior Spartans have played in many competitive soccer matches over the years, several ending in one-point decisions.
Monday’s game in Superior was another close contest, as the Spartan boys won 2-1.
At 7:05 of the first half, Hibbing crossed the ball into the box and Superior failed to clear. The ball bounced around before coming to Hibbing forward Shay Rabbers, who easily punched it into the goal for an 1-0 lead.
The Spartans were only able to produce one decent attacking opportunity on the Hibbing goal and finished the first half down 1-0.
“We hadn’t played our best, but we certainly looked OK,” SHS coach Tom Bush said. “I talked to the guys at halftime and told them they needed to step it up and play their best for the last 40 minutes. They were motivated because we were still in it.”
In the second half, Superior became more physical to match Hibbing’s intensity. Both teams received yellow cards for the physical play, but neither team could create an advantage as they traded shots back and forth
Eventually, Superior broke through to tie the game at 1-1 at 62:22. Junior midfielder Dylan Semborski sent a long cross into the box, and junior Connor Anderson was able to knock the ball in to tie the game.
It was Semborski’s team-leading fifth assist of the season and Anderson’s fourth goal of the season, which ties him for the team lead in points with eight.
After the goal, the momentum tipped to the side of the Spartans. Superior continued to press its attack as the clock wound down, and with just 4:26 left in the game senior defender Refi Olson sent a long ball from the defense into the Hibbing penalty area as the Spartans attacked the goal. The Hibbing goalie lost control of the ball, and junior forward Brandon Gustafson knocked the ball into the goal to give Superior the 2-1 lead.
The Spartans held strong for the final five minutes to win the game.
“I was very proud of our team tonight,” Bush said. “I told them at halftime about making a comeback. There are many teams that struggle to come back from being down. Our boys really were resilient tonight. You could see it in their eyes that they wanted a win. And after it was over, they had accomplished something great.”
Superior’s overall record now stands at 4-10.
Jarret Byrnes finished with 12 saves in goal for the Spartans and improved his record to 2-0 and his goals against average to 1.4.
The junior varsity team lost to Hibbing 3-2, getting goals from Alex Huwaish and Salam Bajjali.
Last Thursday the Spartans hosted the Hermantown Hawks in a 5-1 loss.
The Hawks scored twice in the first half to take a 2-0 lead at halftime. Superior scored first in the second half to make it 2-1, but Hermantown answered with two more quick goals and then added a third later in the second half.
“We got pretty excited there for a minute,” Bush said. “It felt like all the momentum was in our favor and we might actually have a chance at this game.”
Superior’s lone goal came when freshman midfielder Bryan Wines took a pass from senior Caleb Dushkin and cut to the middle before striking a beautiful shot from 25 yards out at 49:40.
“I was really happy with the way we played tonight,” Hermantown said. “Hermantown is one of the best teams we will face all season. They were just unbelievable, right when I thought we might have a chance they just flipped a switch and scored. All of their goals were really nice finishes. They are a great team.”
Junior Zach Brosdal started in goal for Superior and finished with 16 saves for the Spartans.
The SHS JV team fell to Hermantown 7-0.
Duluth Marshall 5, Superior 1
John Fox and Thomas Welinski had two goals apiece to lead the Hilltoppers to the Lake Superior Conference victory in Superior.
Bryan Wines scored the lone goal for the Spartans, who play at Duluth Denfled at 7 p.m. Tuesday.