2018-09-08 / Sports

Soccer Team Seeks Third Northern Lights Championship Title

By Erich T. Doerr


Athletes on the 21-member Mackinac Island Public School soccer team this year are: (front, from left) Aidan Ogle, Tyler Pereny, Matt Cowell, Gabriel Hepker, Albert Mosley, Derby Kromer, Alique Henlin, Ella Cowell, Brooke Dziobak; (back) Guyil Mosley, Xavier Mosley, Harrison Myers, Hannah Styburski, Leon Sehoyan, Aaron Riggs, Alex Henlin, T.J. Massaway, Dominic Morse, Wyatt Morse, Mabel Styburski, and Coach Mary Patay. Missing from photograph is Sean Burt. (Photograph by Allison Sehoyan) Athletes on the 21-member Mackinac Island Public School soccer team this year are: (front, from left) Aidan Ogle, Tyler Pereny, Matt Cowell, Gabriel Hepker, Albert Mosley, Derby Kromer, Alique Henlin, Ella Cowell, Brooke Dziobak; (back) Guyil Mosley, Xavier Mosley, Harrison Myers, Hannah Styburski, Leon Sehoyan, Aaron Riggs, Alex Henlin, T.J. Massaway, Dominic Morse, Wyatt Morse, Mabel Styburski, and Coach Mary Patay. Missing from photograph is Sean Burt. (Photograph by Allison Sehoyan) The Mackinac Island Lakers, the Straits of Mackinac area’s only high school soccer team, are coming into the 2018 season on a hot streak, having won the Northern Lights League championship in 2016 and 2017. They are in pursuit of a third straight title.

Their roster is well stocked. Eighteen of coach Mary Patay’s 21 team members return from last season. The returnees are led by seniors Alex Henlin, Aaron Riggs, and Gabriel Hepker and juniors Hannah Styburski and T.J. Massaway. Others back from last year’s team are sophomores Dominic Morse, Ella Cowell, Trevor Pereny, Leon Sehoyan, Brooke Dziobak, and Albert Mosley, freshmen Harrison Myers, Wyatt Morse, Mabel Styburski, and Xavier Mosley, and eighth graders Aidan Ogle, Sean Burt, and Guyil Mosley.

The team has three newcomers, seventh graders Matthew Cowell, Alique Henlin, and Derby Kromer. All three have familial connections to the team: Matthew’s and Alique’s siblings already were on the roster and Derby’s older brother played before graduating last year.

Coach Patay said it is exciting for a school as small as Mackinac Island to field a soccer team this large and have a successful program. The school has just 24 high school-aged students and 15 of play for the blue- and-white this season, plus another six middle school students. She tries to use all of her players in each game to foster team building and a sense of responsibility. Players must attend practices and stay on the right track or they can be held out of games.

Teamwork will be important if her squad is to continue building on its recent successes, said the coach. Many of her team members played soccer during the summer to improve their skills. Good passing will be another emphasis. Dr. Patay said good passing and good defense get things done on the pitch.

Lakers traditionally start their older, more-experienced players with the goal of pulling ahead early and then rotating in the younger ones so everyone gets playing time. The strategy helps each player improve as the season goes on.

Because many Island school athletes start playing at the varsity level during middle school, older team members have more experience than is common on high school teams. The Lakers regularly have sophomores who are in their fourth year on the team and seniors in their sixth year.

Mary Patay, who grew up playing soccer and got into coaching while in North Dakota, has coached the Lakers soccer team since 1996. She was offered and accepted a soccer coaching job at a Grand Forks, North Dakota, high school while studying toward her master’s degree.

She said Lakers key matchups this season include a doubleheader at Hannahville, a rival team that always presents a challenge, Friday, September 7, and Saturday, September 8. A trip to Big Bay Friday, September 14, and Saturday, September 15, also will be challenging. The Lakers face the Islanders from Beaver Island, a traditional rival, at home Friday, September 28, and Saturday, September 29.

The Lakers play all of their home games at Great Turtle Park. The team opened its season Friday, August 17, with a home game against Concord Academy of Petoskey. The Lakers started slowly and the game was tied 1-1 at halftime, but they pulled away with three unanswered goals in the second half and won 5-2.

Lakers Soccer Schedule

September

7 at Hannahville

8 at Hannahville

12 Grand Marais

14 at Big Bay

15 at Big Bay

18 Munising Baptist

21 Ojibwe Charter

22 Ojibwe Charter

28 Beaver Island

29 Beaver Island

October

2 at Munising Baptist

10 at Grand Marais

13 at Hannahville (NLL Tournament)

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