Story by Frank Solle, photos by Hannah Connor, Andrea Moore, and Frank Solle
Give credit to the Ojibwe Charter Eagles — they came and they played. Just as hard as their little legs would let them.
It just wasn't enough against a Beaver Island Islander team that was simply too much for them in every category of the game and that capped an eight-game home stand with a pair of 8-0 mercy rule victories.
Yet for a new school with no seniors and is still over a year away from graduating its first class, the Eagles showed improvement over last year and a tenacicty that lasted from the first whistle Friday through the final goal Saturday.
Adding to the Islanders fun of closing a successful home season came the first scoring opportunities for seniors Bailey McDonough, Brenna Green, and Rita Palmer as well as the first career goal for freshman Kristy Bousquet.
“I was happy for our senior girls to get a chance to score,” said Islander coach Mike Myers. “They normally play defense, but this weekend they showed what they could do at the other end of the field.”
McDonough and Palmer each finished with three goals, with McDonough scoring twice on Friday while Palmer matched that Saturday morning.
McDonough's first goal Friday opened the floodgates and came on a play that defined determination. Gaining the ball just inside the midfield mark, the steady senior was on a mission and nothing was getting in her way. She deked past two defenders on her way inside the penalty box, then drilled a rocket of a shot past an intimidated goalkeeper.
Palmer's Friday score was equally impressive as she blasted a long, hard shot from the right corner of the box and just inside the goal post.
The Friday game stood 4-0 and the break as Green, who stuck with the play and followed the ball to the goal, scored off a rebound, and McDonough scored again, this time off a rebound from a shot by Green.
Jared Wojan, Brenden Martin, Saygan Croswhite, and Tony Bousquet ended the game with goals in 12 minutes of second half play.
Perhaps the highlight of the Friday game, or of the weekend for that matter, was the halftime show. First this year's senior players were honored. Coach Myers acknowledged their efforts, not only this year but throughout their playing time. He pointed out how this group had lost but one league contest throughout the past four years (a Friday home battle against Mackinaw Island three years ago; one that was avenged the next morning). BICS Principal/Superintendent Kitty McNamara then added that this group played a pivotal role in the combined 30-0 Islanders league record the following year. Then, to top off the halftime entertainment, teacher Marianne Brown and local singer/songwriter Jotty Croswhite led the crowd in a rousing version of ‘Happy Birthday' to honor McNamara and her achievement of reaching the hallowed ground of 50. Throughout the day students and faculty at the school had proudly adorned buttons with photos of a somewhat younger McNamara. Posters with other wonderful and telling photos were paraded in front of the boisterous audience.
Left to right: Coach Mike Myers, Bailey McDonough, Rita Palmer, Saygan Croswhite, Jared Wojan, Brenna Green, David Bousquet,
Tony Bousquet, David Schwartzfisher, Principal Kitty McNamara
The Saturday game was a near repeat, with the girls scoring five first half goals as Bousquet and Maeve Green joined Palmer and McDonough in finding the net. Bousquet, Wojan, and Croswhite capped the game with three early second-half scores.
The wins improve the Islanders to 10-0 with a pair of games at Grand Marais this coming weekend to close out the regular season.
“I'm looking forward to Grand Marais,” Myers said. “They are going to be a good, quick team that will go after the ball. It will be a good weekend before districts.”
The district draw has been completed and the Islanders will face the rival Lakers of Mackinaw Island on Monday, Oct. 16 at 4:30 pm at Big Bay de Noc High School at Cooks in the Upper Peninsula with the winner moving on to the district final on Friday at 5:00 pm. Grand Marais will play Paradise in a tournament-opening game Monday prior to the Islanders-Lakers battle. Host Big Bay will face the winner of the Grand Marais-Paradise game on Wednesday.
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