Gremlins soccer buries Mountaineers, 2-0

Houghton’s Robin Kisiel (6) and Iron Mountain’s Gigi Sampoll battle for position on the soccer field during a game Wednesday at Houghton High School. (Eddie O’Neill/Daily Mining Gazette)

HOUGHTON — It was a historic day for Houghton High School sports on Wednesday. It marked the first varsity girls soccer game played at home in the school’s long history.

Yes, there have been plenty of soccer matches at the high school level played on the turf at Houghton, but none of them had been approved by the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA). They had always been boys’ or girls’ club-level games – played against other Upper Peninsula club teams.

That changed late last summer when the MHSAA approved high school soccer programs in the Upper Peninsula to participate in the state-wide soccer tournaments at season’s end. In short, varsity soccer is official at Houghton and other participating U.P. schools.

With that in mind, the Gremlins girls’ team signed on the dotted line and sealed the deal with a 2-0 win over the visiting Iron Mountain Mountaineers (0-4). It was the first win of the season for the Gremlins (1-3) and didn’t come easy according to coach Madison Mattila.

“The girls have been working so hard, and it paid off today,” she said. “We played our game on the field today, and that did not occur always in first three games.”

This game belonged to the Gremlins from the start as they dominated in time of possession, control of the ball and shots. They outshot the Mountaineers 16-5 – posting an equal number of shots during each 40-minute half.

All of Houghton’s scoring occurred within a three-minute period late in the second. However, according to Mattila, plenty of good things occurred in the first and start of the second.

“We were playing as a team,” she stated. “We executed well with good ball movement and drop options. I told the girls at half to keep it up, and the goals will come.”

The Gremlins first goal came at around the 68-minute mark when forward and captain Robin Kisiel hit fellow captain CeCe Butler with a pass, and she put it past Iron Mountain’s goalie Emily Copley.

Fast forward three minutes and Kisiel was back at it. This time she had a breakaway opportunity and came into the box and faked left and went to the upper-right corner with the ball tagging all net for a 2-0 lead.

That is how it remained until the clock hit zero. Houghton’s goalie Ella Markham got the shut out.

“I have nothing but compliments for the whole team,” Mattila added.

Despite the loss, Mountaineers’ coach Bethany Merrill was quite pleased with the effort her team demonstrated.

“This was our best game yet,” she said. “I liked the spacing and the communication. We played as a team throughout both halves.”


The Gremlins welcome the Marquette Sentinels to the Houghton turf Friday at 6:30 p.m.


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