Mystery goal helps ignite another Big North win for Petoskey soccer

PETOSKEY — There’s probably going to be a Petoskey boys’ soccer team debate for the remainder of the season.

Just who did have the opening goal against Traverse City Central at Northmen Stadium Thursday? Well, that depends who you ask.

Ask Jimmy Marshall and the Petoskey senior will tell you his 40-yard free kick boot bent into the Trojans’ net and gave his team a 1-0 lead.

Ask senior Charlie Smith and the story is similar, only his leaping ability is better than Marshall’s giving him credit for, believing it just grazed his head to redirect the ball.

“Right over his head, he can’t jump that high,” said Marshall with a big laugh. “I’d like to take it, but Charlie is always there to finish those balls, so I couldn’t tell. We can split it.”

Petoskey’s Jimmy Marshall (20) celebrates with the crowd after helping get the Northmen a 1-0 lead Thursday night at Northmen Stadium against TC Central.

Credit aside, it was the goal that ignited another Petoskey Big North Conference victory, keeping the Northmen atop the league as the lone unbeaten now a full cycle through the conference with a 4-1 win.

Marshall knew how big of a game it was heading in and will be moving forward as another round of BNC play starts up, this time with a loaded schedule of road trips.

“That one is really big,” said Marshall. “We’re just trying to build energy off the West win and carry it though the conference. We already tied one game against Gaylord, which we didn’t want to do. Now we’ve got to go to West, to Central, to Gaylord and we’ve got to pull those ones out. So this is a big momentum one for us.”

The Northmen have been on fire of late, winning four straight, all within the BNC. They now sit at 6-5-3 overall on the year, their first time on the positive side of their record, then also 4-0-1 in the BNC.

“I think it all starts with our senior leadership,” Petoskey coach Noah Honaker said. “They’re all so unselfish with how they play and put it all on the line. I knew it was going to happen with enough time, just figuring out where those pieces fit together. I knew they could come back to play like this.”

Petoskey’s Charlie Smith tries to meet a ball kicked by teammate Jimmy Marshall in the first half against TC Central, which put the Northmen ahead 1-0.

The scoring has been the biggest change of late. All four games have come with at least a pair of goals scored and the last three, all with at least four goals.

“I think we missed our fair share early in the season and they’re coming back now,” laughed Honaker.

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That first goal against the Trojans Thursday – whoever had it – flipped the script in Petoskey’s play against Central. They took just a 1-0 game to the break, though most of the possession switched ends.

“TC Central came out guns blazing and we really weathered that storm early and got back to playing our game, possessing through the midfield and it worked out,” added Honaker.

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In the second half, Petoskey took a 2-0 lead off a Finn Yurek score, then Elijah Dettmer made it 3-0 with just under 11 minutes left.

The Trojans then answered back with one by Asher Paul, though back came Petoskey, with Yurek ripping another close range shot into the net with three minutes remaining.

Petoskey keeper Adam Lipchik nearly pitched a shutout in goal against the Trojans Thursday night and has been part of a Northmen defense that hasn’t allowed more than a goal over the last five games.

Marshall’s big leg is often the one that’s chosen for those free kicks – clearly with good reason – then he’s also been the organizer and leader on the backline for a couple years.

With a lot of young teammates in the lineup at the start of the year, Marshall knew things would come along eventually.

“We’re just building up with our young guys,” he said. “They’ve really gotten involved. A lot of seniors together, team bonding and team chemistry has really gotten us this far.”

More: Petoskey soccer takes sole lead of Big North with win

That second round of games within the BNC gets started next week with a trip to rival Gaylord on Tuesday, Sept. 26, followed then by a trip to TC West on Thursday, Sept. 28.

The Northmen last earned a 0-0 tie against the Blue Devils to open September.

“We have to go down there, which is always hard,” added Honaker. “It’s their Super Bowl. It’s always a tough game for us, but as long as we play our game, possess the ball and be unselfish and work for each other, I think we’ll be good.”

Contact Sports Editor Drew Kochanny at [email protected]. Follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter, @DrewKochanny, and Instagram, @drewkochanny

This article originally appeared on The Petoskey News-Review: Petoskey soccer remains unbeaten in Big North following win over TC Central


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