By John Vrancic
ESCANABA - Senior Ryan Minor scored in interesting fashion Saturday as the Big Bay de Noc Black Bears gained a 1-1 tie with Escanaba-based Bayside Soccer Club.
Paul Gerard | Grandpacamo.com
Jarod Bizeau of Bayside attempts a header that misses the mark as Big Bay de Noc’s Alex Ranguette (0) and John Green (6) defend Saturday at Bay College.
Minor's equalizer, which took place with 11 minutes left in the contest, richoted off the top crossbar and into the back of the net for Big Bay's first goal this season.
"That was a nice shot," said Bayside coach Glenn Gregg. "You can't stop those. Give them (Big Bay) credit. They had some nice scoring opportunties in the second half. They were coming on strong."
Minor nearly hit a second goal with two minutes remaining. Bayside goaltender Derek Chaillier, however, leaned and tipped his shot away from the net to keep the score even.
"That was a beautiful shot and a beautiful save, which is an exciting part of the game," said Big Bay coach Gary Sporer. "I'm pleased we were able to mount a challenge in the end. This is a tremendous confidence builder for us. We were playing more relaxed today than in our first two matches, and that helped us have the confidence to take the ball down the field. The kids believe in themselves. Only, it helps for them to see it on the field."
Bayside took the lead in the first half when James Bruce scored from in front of the net on a pass from Tyler Borkadi.
The hosts had several other scoring chances on this sunny, warm and humid day. But Big Bay netminder Alex Ranguette was equal to the challenge, denying Bayside on a 2-on-0 in the opening minutes and a shot on point-blank range early in the second half.
Borkadi also had a penalty shot late in the first half, but it sailed wide, left.
"I thought this was a well played match by both teams on both ends of the field," said Sporer. "We were getting excellent goaltending by Alex. I think Bayside had the better scoring chances in the first half. But Bayside had only a couple subs here today and we may have worn them down a little in the second half. We know what it's like to have few players. We've been there."
Bayside, however, has 18 on its roster which is similar to Big Bay's turnout.
"We were missing some kids for various reasons," said Gregg. "We were also giving kids fluids on the sidelines because we needed to keep them hydrated. Big Bay is healthier and has more numbers this year. They're looking pretty good, and they seem to be jelling pretty good. They're going to improve."
Bayside's Jimmy Moore left the contest midway through the first half with a wrist injury.
Both teams resume Thursday at 5 p.m. Big Bay (0-2-1) visits the Marquette jayvees and Bayside (1-0-1) hosts Manistique.