They came in big underdogs, but the Riverton/Tri-City Hawknadoes soccer team nearly pulled off an upset Friday night in the Class 1A SHG Sectional final, as a late header goal lifted Alton Marquette to a 1-0 victory.

The Hawknadoes (21-3-1)were outshot 34-2, but Matt Martin made 20 saves, several of the highway robbery variety, and the defense was stout.

“I have nothing to say except that I am so proud of our great effort tonight,” said coach Chris Bertolino. “We went against one of the best teams in the state, and we showed we are too.

“I am so proud of the heart and effort we displayed.”

With almost the entire game being played in their defensive end against the talented Explorers, it was up to the defense to keep the game close, and the defense did just that, with the help of few posts along the way.