Polkky scores five goals, Gremlins soccer earns first win

Houghton’s Brody Mattila elevates to make a play while being defended by a Ste. Sault Marie player during a game Saturday at Alumni Field in Houghton. (Eddie O’Neill/Daily Mining Gazette)

HOUGHTON — Conner Polkky had a hat trick plus two on the turf of Alumni Field on Saturday as the Houghton Gremlins’ soccer team earned their first win of the 2023 season with an 8-1 victory over the Blue Devils of Ste. Sault Marie.

“Conner creates a lot of play, and he likes to shoot the ball. A lot of those balls found the back of the net today.” said Houghton coach Emily Palosaari. “That was great to see as he came alive today.”

Polkky’s first goal came at the 26-minute mark of the first half. Carter Kilpela found him open on the right wing, and Polkky moved in and scored.

The Blue Devils then tied it up with under three minutes left in the half. Noah Weber blasted a shot past the Houghton netminder, but the tie was short-lived.

The Gremlins (1-0-1) made it a 2-1 game as Polkky booted one in with less than a minute to go in the first.

The second half belonged to the Gremlins. They dominated play and stayed one step ahead of the Blue Devils.

“We moved the ball well, especially to the outside,” added Palosaari. “We are still a work in progress. We need to win balls in the air better.”

Good ball movement and crisp passing led to Polkky’s third goal and hat trick at the 35-minute mark of the second half. This was a long, deep shot which was just out of reach from the Sault goalie. Polkky scored twice more in the game before sharing the wealth with teammates Ben Waite, Ethan Heckel and Lucas Mayra.

Waite’s goal came at the nine-minute mark and through a crowd of players in front of the net. Heckel found the back of the net four minutes later with a shot inside the box. Mayra topped off the Gremlins’ scoring barrage with a similar goal in front of the net with less than four minutes to go in the game.

When the clock hit zero, the Gremlins had out shot the Blue Devils 15-3.

Despite the lopsided loss, Blue Devils’ coach Alan Macarthur liked what he saw from a young Sault team.

“This is a building year for us,” he said. “We have a lot of freshmen on the team and even some kids who have no or little (soccer) experience. Everybody got in and got playing time, and that’s how we are going to get better.”


The Gremlins traveled to Marquette Tuesday to face the Redmen.


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