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Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017
Marcantognini and the Spartans advance to Elite Eight
2017-11-29
by Randy Pascal

It‘s been quite a week or so for the Sudbury soccer scene.

Within days of the news that Lasalle Secondary product Jenna Hellstrom was named to the Canadian national women’s team lineup for an international friendly this week in Spain against Norway, came an added bonus, on the male side, from south of the border.

Now in his fourth and final year as a member of the Michigan State Spartans, Michael Marcantognini and his teammates earned a come from behind 2-1 win over the Western Michigan Broncos, advancing to the NCAA Elite Eight for the third time in five years.

This is just the latest accomplishment for a Spartans team that posted a record of 11-3-3 this fall and entered tournament play ranked seventh in the nation. All in all, it’s been quite a ride for a young man who first moved away from Sudbury midway through his high-school career, recognizing the need to experience soccer at a whole other level in order to pursue his dreams.

“Moving away from home at the age of fifteen forced me to mature very quickly,” Marcantognini said recently. “That was the best decision I could have made, because I have had to be very mentally tough from a young age, which has seen me through the tough times during my high school and college days. This has played a big part in my success, and I believe this will be very important for me in the future.”

Playing all 19 games this year and picking up a pair of assists along the way, the one-time member of the Greater Sudbury Soccer Club pulls no punches about his post-Michigan State aspirations in the sport that he has always adored.

“This past summer, I was able to train with TFC2 (Toronto Football Club), which was a great experience,” he recalled. Playing/training at that level, in such a professional environment, made me even hungrier and more driven to play professionally. My hope is to return to Toronto if given the opportunity, but I’m definitely open to other options as well.”

The Spartans take to the pitch again this Friday, travelling to Bloomington (Indiana) to face the Indiana Hoosiers, the second ranked team in the NCAA.

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