When Marysville and St. Clair meet on the soccer field, a must-watch game is always in store.
Monday night’s showdown at East China Stadium was no exception as the Vikings quickly erased a 1-0 deficit to top the Saints, 2-1. Bragging rights are just the beginning of what Marysville picked up with the win, also picking up a key MAC Gold win to put itself at 3-2-1 in conference play.
This win just might have been a little sweeter for the Vikings.
“We have a ton of respect for St. Clair, but we dislike them very much,” Marysville senior Bryan DiNardo said with a grin.
Despite the loss, St. Clair is still in good league standing as they fall to 3-2-0 in the MAC Gold. Looking back at last week’s win over Port Huron Northern, assistant coach Gabe Al-Gharabally likes where the team is trending.
“I’ve really liked the direction where this team is going,” Al-Gharabally said. “Compared to last year we’ve made leaps and bounds. Our freshmen are big contributors and our goalie Sam (Pickelhaupt) has been really good.”
As with every game, Saints senior Ben Al-Gharabally also shined on the field for St. Clair. The Detroit Mercy commit scored the first goal with 7:49 remaining in the first half on a goal that even impressed Marysville goalkeeper Brett Robinson.
“It’s incredible,” Robinson said. “You learn how to play going against a guy like that. He’s going to a division one college and he’s a high-caliber player.”
While the Saints got to celebrate the first goal of the game, the Vikings responded promptly. After attacking the net, a Saints player got caught with a handball in the box off a corner kick. That allowed DiNardo to step up and boot it to the right side of the net for a 1-1 tie with 7:09 left in the half.
“That was very stressful,” DiNardo recalled. “St. Clair is obviously a big rival for many years for us, but I knew I had to come through for my team.”
The second half was filled with back-and-forth action but just had one goal to show – albeit the biggest goal of the night.
Midway through the second half, Vikings senior Michael Lansky poked a through ball to junior Marshal DiGiovanni, who kicked it by the goalie for the 2-1 lead.
“It was just pure excitement,” DiGiovanni said. “There was a lot of adrenaline and motivation to just keep going and fight until the game is over.”
This is just the first chapter between the two teams as they’ll clash at Marysville on Oct. 12. Until then, it’s the Vikings who get to bask in bragging rights.
“As soon as these schools were built I’m pretty sure this was a rivalry,” Robinson said. “It feels great to win. It’s just fantastic.”