Marinette’s Denin Bieberitz muscles his way past a Peshtigo player during the second half Thursday at Bulldog Stadium. (Color reprints: www.ehextra.com) Marinette’s Denin Bieberitz muscles his way past a Peshtigo player during the second half Thursday at Bulldog Stadium. <br><i>EagleHerald/Jody Korch</i>
Marinette’s Denin Bieberitz muscles his way past a Peshtigo player during the second half Thursday at Bulldog Stadium. (Color reprints: www.ehextra.com) Marinette’s Denin Bieberitz muscles his way past a Peshtigo player during the second half Thursday at Bulldog Stadium.
EagleHerald/Jody Korch
PESHTIGO - Get Austin Mahlik the ball with room to maneuver, and he's a nightmare for opponents.

The Marinette Marine found open spaces in the second half and scored four goals as the Marine soccer team opened its season with a 5-2 win over Peshtigo Thursday.

Peshtigo battled on even terms with the Marines for a full half. Denin Bieberitz knocked in a rebound shot with 19:58 in the first half to put the Marines ahead 1-0. But Peshtigo tied the match with 6:13 in the half. Matt Zeske slid a close-range shot just under Marine goalkeeper Joe Callow to tie the match.

Peshtigo would have had the lead if not for three impressive first-half saves by Callow.

After halftime, it was all Marines.

"The first half everything was bunched up," Mahlik said. "They might have gotten tired out, because we had more space in the middle of the field."

Peshtigo marked Mahlik with a steady stream of defenders. But 9:29 into the second half, he capitalized on a Peshtigo turnover deep in its own end by knocking a shot across the net.

Mahlik beat three defenders for a "how'd he do that" goal at the 22:40 mark.

"I would say the second half, that's more how we want to do it," Marinette coach Frank Pohlmann said. "The first half we lost the 50-50 balls. The second half we won them."

A minute after Kris VanSickle just missed a goal for the Bulldogs, Mahlik scored again on a pass from Casey Sabowski that was deflected right to the Marine co-captain.

"You know, Mahlik is a great little athlete," Peshtigo coach Rick Reed said. "He's fast. He's difficult to defend for an extended amount of time."

Mahlik scored again in the final minutes. Peshtigo's Jordan Jones scored on a breakaway with 5:31 remaining.

"We played well, just were a little shorthanded, that's all," Reed said.

Pohlmann was pleased with the effort of his outside defenders and midfielders.

Mahlik sees a lot of room for improvement as the Marines prepare for Bay Conference play.

"To be honest it was pretty sloppy," he said. "We won, so it wasn't too bad. The second half looked better for us."