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Despite rebuild, Marquette still eying 15th straight Upper Peninsula D-1 title



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MARQUETTE, Mich. — Even following a record-setting year that featured a 21-2-0 record, Marquette faced a slight rebuilding job this season.

Even third-year boys soccer coach Dan Salmon had to curb the expectations for a program that has won an unprecedented 14 straight Upper Peninsula Division 1 titles. The Redmen, prior to 2007, also regularly finished above five-hundred and competed for district titles when it was allowed to compete in the MHSAA state tournament along with Lower Peninsula high schools.

“We only returned seven players total and really only two of them started last season,” said Salmon. “We lost I believe 11 players to graduation, and we had some holes to fill.”

With nine starters gone, Marquette inserted five of last year’s bench players and the rest of the roster is made up of players promoted from the junior varsity or current freshmen. There are only 27 players in the program this year, but the Redmen do use several of the underclassmen in junior varsity games when the opponent offers sub-varsity competition.

There are only 15 boys soccer programs in the Upper Peninsula this season (please see list below) and most of them are Class C and Class D schools enrollment-wise.

Player-wise, the Redmen welcome back arguably the best player in the Upper Peninsula in senior Max Dawson, a fourth-year varsity veteran who broke into the starting lineup early in his freshman campaign back in 2019. Junior midfielder Ethan Sandstrom is the only other returning starter for the Redmen.

Dawson, who has garnered Division II college interest from Northern Michigan University and Michigan Tech University, is the school’s all-time leading scorer who ranked first or in the top 10 in numerous statistical categories. His 39 goals as a junior is a single-season school record. The aforementioned Sandstrom is a playmaker who ranks amongst the Redmen’s career assists leaders.

Seniors Isaac Johnson (F), Ezra Packard (M) and Evan Sysko (M), junior Hunter Sandtrom (M/F) and sophomore Indigo Orlando (D) are the other returning letterwinners.

Sophomore Edan Hautamaki, who stands 6-foot-2, became the junior varsity keeper early last season due to an injury of a teammate and despite only playing soccer for a couple of years, has grown into a sure-handed netminder this season.

The aforementioned Orlando is the sole defensive player back in uniform, forcing Salmon to reconstruct his backline and fill the goaltending vacancy. Orlando again anchors the backline from his center back position, while juniors Matt Barsh and Easton Zivnoska have stepped in nicely at the outside marking back positions.

The midfield and forward positions are where Marquette is most experienced with six returning players. Sophomore midfielder Jack Sysko is the top newcomer in the attack, while fellow sophomores Kaleb Chipelewski (F) and Henry Wood (M) have also enjoyed their fair share of minutes.

Even despite having only four seniors in the entire program and 20 new players on the varsity roster, Marquette has quickly turned the rebuild tag into a title contender. The Redmen still have posted a 20-2-2 ledger this autumn, coming a long way since dropping two of their first three contests of the season. Marquette fell to Division 1 state-ranked Traverse City West (4-0) and traditional D-2 power Petoskey (3-0) in mid-August while trying to work in nine news starters.

There are only three programs from the Great Northern U.P. Conference, including Marquette, Escanaba-Gladstone Bayside Unified and Kingsford, that offer boys soccer, so there is no league schedule. Marquette plays an independent schedule against teams from the Upper Peninsula, Lower Peninsula and occasionally from Wisconsin each season.

As for the postseason, Marquette will be going after its unprecedented 15th straight Upper Peninsula Division I Tournament championship Oct. 15 at Kaufman Sports Complex in Marquette. Several of the teams from around the U.P. will commence on three fields in either the D-1 or D-2 competition.

“We’ve come a long way since the beginning of the season,” noted Salmon. “We have a young team with only four seniors and several sophomores and juniors.

“One of our goals each year is to win the Upper Peninsula title and we hope to do so again,” added the coach. “We should have a chance to win it again. We haven’t lost against any teams (in the U.P.) but teams are always coming after us.”

Have action or team photos, highlights video clips or interview videos to contribute to this story, please email Director of Broadcasting Jonathan Turner at or Web and Content Editor Dan Stickradt at To inquire about broadcast opportunities and pricing, also contact Jonathan Turner at the above-listed email.


An * asterisk denotes school is eligible to use eighth grade students on high school athletics teams due to the state’s sub-100 students rule. Two ** asterisks denotes school is eligible to use both eighth grade and seventh grade students on high school athletics teams due to the state’s sub-50 students rule.

Current Upper Peninsula Boys Soccer Teams:

School: 9-12

Beaver Island 15 **

Brimley Ojibwe Charter 39 **

Chassell Copper Country Christian 46 **

Cooks Big Bay De Noc 56 *

Escanaba-Gladstone Bayside Unified 652/414

Grand Marais Burt Township N/A **

Hannahville Nah Tah Wahsh 65 *

Iron Mountain-Norway Unified 264/177

Ironwood-Bessemer-Wakefield Unified 196/114/95

Kingsford 563

Mackinac Island 22 **

Marquette 1,114

Munising Baptist N/A **

Negaunee 414

Sault Ste Marie 884

Schools At One Time Formerly Sponsored Soccer Programs:

Bark River-Harris 220

Gwinn 265

Manistique 263

Paradise Whitefish Township 22 **

Rapid River 109

Other Upper Peninsula High Schools:

Baraga 123

Bark River-Harris 220

Brimley 154

Calumet 369

Carney-Nadeau 77 *

Cedarville Les Cheneaux 62 *

Chassell 68 *

Crystal Falls Forest Park 124

DeTour 41 **

Dollar Bay 110

Eben Junction Superior Central 83 *

Engadine 94 *

Escanaba Holy Name Catholic 20 **

Ewen-Trout Creek 67 *

Felch North Dickinson 82 *

Gwinn 265

Hancock 222

Iron River West Iron County 235

Ishpeming 215

Ishpeming Westwood 383

Kinross Maplewood Baptist 27 **

Lake Linden-Hubbell 103

L’Anse 188

Manistique 263

Marquette North Star Academy 68 *

Menominee 370

Mohawk Keewenaw Academy N/A

Munising 179

Newberry 167

Ontonagon 116

Painesdale-Jeffers 190

Paradise Whitefish Township 22 **

Pickford 161

Powers North Central 108

Rapid River 109

Republic-Michigamme 36 **

Rock Mid-Peninsula 45 **

Rudyard 169

St. Ignace-Lasalle 201

Stephenson 149

Wakefield-Marensisco 95 *

Watersmeet 51 *

White Pine N/A *

U.P. DIVISION 1 FOR BOYS SOCCER – Houghton, Iron Mountain-Norway Unified, Kingsford, Marquette, Sault Ste Marie

U.P. DIVISION 2 FOR BOYS SOCCER – Chassell Copper Country Christian, Houghton ‘B’, Ironwood-Bessemer-Wakefield Unified, Marquette ‘B’, Negaunee

NORTHERN LIGHTS LEAGUE (U.P.-based high schools have not entered Upper Peninsula Tournament in recent years) – Beaver Island, Brimley Ojibwe Charter, Cooks Big Bay De Noc, Grand Marais Burt Township, Hannahville Nah Tah Wahsh, Mackinac Island, Munising Baptist


2021: Marquette

2020: Marquette

2019: Marquette

2018: Marquette

2017: Marquette

2016: Marquette

2015: Marquette

2014: Marquette

2013: Marquette

2012: Marquette

2011: Marquette

2010: Marquette

2009: Marquette

2008: Marquette

2007: Not available.


2021: Escanaba-Gladstone Bayside Unified

2020: Chassell Copper Country Christian

2019: Not Available

2018: Not Available

2017: Not Available

2016: Escanaba-Gladstone Bayside Unified

2015: Cooks Big Bay De Noc

2014: Escanaba-Gladstone Bayside Unified

2013: Not Available

2012: Not Available

2011: Not Available

2010: Not Available

2009: Not Available

2008: Not Available

2007: Not Available

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