PREVIEW: Spartan soccer team opens with 6-2 win over RailsTyler Gravening scored four of the Spartans’ goals and Conner Anderson-Petroske, also a senior, scored the other two as they rewarded new head coach Gabriel Mozzini with his first prep coaching victory.
By: Ken Olson, Superior Telegram
The Superior High School boys soccer team opened its season with a 6-2 victory over the Spooner Rails Saturday morning at the SHS soccer fields.
Tyler Gravening scored four of the Spartans’ goals and Conner Anderson-Petroske, also a senior, scored the other two as they rewarded new head coach Gabriel Mozzini with his first prep coaching victory.
“Tyler and Conner are the fastest guys on the team and are always ready,” Mozzini said. “Tyler used his speed well on Saturday and has been working hard in practice. Hopefully he can up his good play.”
Speed will be the name of the game for the Spartans this season. In preparation for Mozzini’s up-tempo style of play, Superior practiced twice a day for the first two weeks.
“Two-a-day practices is something they haven’t done here before,” Mozzini said. “We’ve been working on possession and passing the ball and I thought for our first time out we did both very well against Spooner.
“We’re a very quick team, passed the ball well and scored some very nice goals.”
Gravening, who finished with six goals last season, scored a natural hat trick with the first three goals of the game.
“I can’t say thank you enough to the guys who helped set up each goal,” Gravening said. “Two-a-day practices have really helped us. We’re in pretty good shape, and you can never have enough speed.”
Senior midfielder Salam Bajjali and goaltender Jarret Byrnes assisted on Gravening’s first two goals and senior Cameron Gray helped out on the third.
“Cameron and freshman Logan Kittelson are playing well on defense and both stopped a lot of balls at midfield,” Mozzini said. “They didn’t let them get all the way back and did a good job on transition and setting up plays.”
Ethan Gormong scored for Spooner in the 20th minute to make the score 3-1 at the half.
Anderson-Petroske and Gravening scored to give Superior a 5-1 lead 15 minutes into the second half.
After Levi Hansen scored for Spooner in the 63rd minute, Anderson-Petroske scored the final goal with 12 minutes remaining.
“We have a lot of speed and we’re a better passing team that last year,” Anderson-Petroske said. “We’re also a younger team, but we expected to get better as we get more experience.”
Byrnes and Nick Hesselgrave each played a half in goal for the Spartans, each finishing with five saves. Byrnes picked up assists on Superior’s first two goals.
“We’re both going to be tested,” said Byrnes, who split time in goal last year. “We’re going to really need to rely on the defense a lot and they did a good job against Spooner.”
Jake Sacco finished with six saves for Spooner.
“Jarret and Nick are the only goalies on our roster,” Mozzini said. “We’ll be rotating them for the first three games just to see what they have. After that we’ll have to split them up on the varsity and JV.”
A third keeper, in case of an emergency, is senior Zach Brosdel.
“Defense is our weak point at this time,” Mozzini said. “We’re a bit slower back there and are making a lot of mistakes. But we’ll keep working and I know the kids will get better. We’re really concentrating on our passing and timing.”
The Spartans host Ashland at 4 p.m. Thursday. The Lake Superior Conference game was originally scheduled to be played in Ashland, but had to be moved because of a scheduling conflict.
“The LSC is going to be a very good conference again this year and every game will be tough,” Mozzini said.
SPARTAN SPIN: Mozzini played soccer through high school in Brazil. After playing one year at UWS, he coached a U17 team at Proctor, teams in the Gitchi Gummi League and teams at the U12 level before getting hired at SHS. … Superior’s assistant coach is Jack Hajewski, also a former UWS Yellowjacket. … Superior played Duluth Denfeld in the LSC jamboree Tuesday evening.
Spooner 1 1 — 2
Superior 3 3 — 6
First Half: 1. Superior, Tyler Gravening (Salam Bajjali, Jarret Byrnes), 12:11. 2. Superior, Gravening (Bajjali), 23:25. 3. Superior, Gravening (Cameron Gray), 23:55. 4. Spooner, Ethan Gormong, 29:20.
Second Half: 5. Superior, Conner Anderson-Petroske (Christian Grimaldi), 53:09. 6. Superior, Gravening (Anderson-Petroske, Matthew O’Shaughnessy), 60:50. 7. Spooner, Levi Hansen (Gormong), 62:08. 8. Superior, Anderson-Petroske (Gray), 78:02.
Saves: Jake Sacco, Spooner 1-5—6. Jarret Byrnes, Superior 5-x—5. Nick Hesselgrave, Superior x-5—5.
2012 Superior High School Spartans
Boys Soccer Roster
Connor Anderson-Petroske, Zach Brosdel, Jarrett Brynes, Andrew Chammings, Aaron Foley, Tyler Gravening, Cameron Gray, Anas Huwaish, Ali Maamoun, Steven Pallas, Spencer Sitek, Sam Stenroos.
Cody Anderson, Andrew Anklam, Salam Bajjali, Ryan Campbell, Felix Leck, Mathew O’Shaugnessy, Noah Peterson.
Ben Buchanan, Derek Copperud, Nick Hesselgrave, Michael Johnson, Phillip McCotter, Jacob McGraw, Josh Mentzel, Morgen Moen, Jake Semborski, Holden Willmore.
Ethan Cooper, Christian Grimaldi, Noah Ilenda, Logan Kittelson, Niklas Leck, Devin Piller, Caleb Potter, Robert Severin.
Superior High School
2012 Boys Soccer Schedule
Head Coach: Gabriel Mozzini
Tue., Aug. 14 vs. Osceola, ppd
Sat., Aug. 18 vs. Spooner, Won 6-2
Tue., Aug. 21 LSC Jamboree at PSS
Thur., Aug. 23 vs. Ashland, 4 p.m.
Mon., Aug. 27 vs. Cloquet, 5 p.m.
Tue., Sept. 4 vs. Hermantown, 5 p.m.
Thur., Sept. 6 at Proctor, 4:30 p.m.
Thur., Sept. 13 vs.Two Harbors, 4 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 15 at Rice Lake, noon
Mon., Sept. 17 at Spooner, 4:30 p.m.
Thur., Sept. 20 vs. Marshall, 5 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 22 at New Rich., 11 a.m.
Mon., Sept. 24 at Hibbing, 4:30 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 29 at Chip. Falls, 9 a.m.
Mon., Oct. 1 at Washburn, 4 p.m.
Tue., Oct. 2 vs. Denfeld, 5 p.m.
Thur., Oct. 4 at Ashland, 4 p.m.
Tue., Oct. 9 WIAA Regional Semi
Thur., Oct. 11 WIAA Regional Final
Thur., Oct. 18 WIAA Sectional Semi
Sat., Oct. 20 Sect. Final at Chip. Falls
Oct. 25-27 WIAA State at Milw.