Portage Northern High School
Men's Soccer 2005
Head Coach: Chris Riker
Varsity Assistants: Matt Brown & Todd Chappa
JV Coach: Steve Morrison
Trainer: Zach Dougal
MHSAA Division 1 - District 3 - Championship
vs. PORTAGE CENTRAL MUSTANGS
Saturday Oct. 29, 2005 - @ 2:00 pm
at Holt High School Soccer Field - HOLT, MI
Photos have been added of the PC match. Go to the Photos page.
JACKSON VIKINGS - October 25, 2005
MHSAA Division 1 - District 3
First Round Match
The Huskies got things rolling in the first game of districts last night with a 4-1 win over the Vikings of Jackson High School. An early PK converted by Justin Bailey at the 35:46 mark of the first half got Northern off to a fast start.
JB then struck again a short time later at the 30:51 mark as he was on the receiving end of a give and go pass from Matt Toepper and cleanly beat the Viking goalkeeper for a 2-0 Huskie lead.
Matt Hecker then added to the Huskie lead with a left foot strike off the dribble at the 17:19 mark of the half and it appeared Northern was on the way to an easy win. However, Jackson responded with a goal with 12:47 left in the half on a one touch volley over Eric Staver's head off a corner kick to cut the Northern lead to 3-1 going into the intermission.
Both teams struggled to find the back of the net in the second half of play, as Northern could not put the game out of reach until only 14:48 remained. At that point, Zack Hurd finished off a cross into the box from Matt Toepper and the victory was finally sealed for the Huskies. Northern will continue district action at 5pm on Thursday evening at Holt as they take on Holt High School in a semi-final district match-up.
SMAC Conference Tournament
PORTAGE CENTRAL MUSTANGS - October 20, 2005
SMAC Conference Tournament
Junior Varsity Match:
The Portage Northern JV soccer team fell to rival Portage Central on Thursday, 2-0, in the last game of the season for both squads.
The Mustangs scored two minutes into the contest off a corner kick to take the early 1-0 lead and held on, finally scoring an insurance goal with three minutes to play for the final two-goal margin. Despite the final score, this was a very evenly played contest.
Portage Central outshot the Huskies, 8-5, with the teams registering four shots on goal apiece in the second half. Both sides had 11direct kicks and the Mustangs had the edge in corner kicks, 2-1. The Huskies carried the play in the first 15 minutes of the second half, but could not finish as the defense on both sides allowed very few good chances.
Northern finished 6-10-2, but were strong in the latter half of the campaign. The Huskies were 2-8-0 after 10 games, but only lost two of their last 8, compiling a 4-2-2 mark over that stretch. For the season, the team gave up an average of 1.67 goals per game and scored 29 goals, while giving up 30.
BATTLE CREEK LAKEVIEW SPARTANS - October 18, 2005
SMAC Conference Tournament
Junior Varsity Match:
The Portage Northern JV soccer team continued its hot play last night, defeating Battle Creek Lakeview, 1-0, for its third win in a row and also its third consecutive shutout.
Midway through the opening half, Steve Carra eluded two defenders on the right side and found the back of the net from 10 yards out for a 1-0 lead and the game’s only score. The Huskies dominated throughout the contest, collecting 13 shots on goal to 2 for the Spartans, including a 9-1 advantage in the second half.
In holding Lakeview to a season-low two shots, one in each half, the Huskies’ defense -led by Matt Phillips, Sean Hurley, Aaron Stinson and Cory Garneau - continued its excellent play. The stingy Northern squad now has held the opposition to one goal or less in eight straight games.
Dillon Huss and Jeremy Krueger combined on their third straight shutout. It was the third meeting of the season between these teams and after a 1-1 standoff in the first contest, the Huskies have defeated the Battle Creek squad twice in a row.
The Huskies are 6-9-2 for the season, with a 4-1-2 mark in the last seven games. The Huskies’ only loss during that stretch was a 1-0 setback to St. Joseph, which had a 10-0-0 mark at the time.
The team finishes its season Thursday with a home match with rival Portage Central
The Portage Northern Huskies continued their good play last night with a convincing 4-0 victory over a frequent season foe, the Spartans of Battle Creek Lakeview.
Both teams came out determined to carry the play to the opposition during the early part of the match, with the Huskies drawing first blood on a finish by Mitch Kinner at the 21:49 mark of the opening period. Kinner followed in his own initial shot, collected the rebound, and sent it home to put Northern up 1-0.
The Huskies then added to that margin as Matt Toepper carried the ball into the Spartan zone at the 5:57 mark and sent a crossing pass to the feet of Zack Hurd who finished for a 2-0 Northern lead.
As the second half got underway, Lakeview was determined to pick up the offensive tempo and managed a few shots on Northern goalkeep Eric Staver in the early going.
However, the Huskies responded with another attack by Toepper who was taken down in the penalty area at the 35:08 mark of the 2nd half. Justin Bailey did his usual calm job of nailing the ensuing PK for a 3-0 lead for the home team.
Northern then completed the scoring with a beautifully played quick restart at the 15:53 mark by Zack Hurd who found the feet of a hard charging Mitch Kinner on a through ball which Kinner sent past the Spartan goalkeeper for the final 4-0 score.
The win sets up a rematch with Portage Central for the SMAC conference championship on Thursday evening at the Huskie home field. It should be a tremendous soccer game between two excellent teams.
MARSHALL REDHAWKS - October 13, 2005
SMAC Conference Tournament
Junior Varsity Match:
The JV Huskies probably wish this soccer season could be extended because the team is playing its best right now, recording a second straight shutout victory on Tuesday, 3-0 over Marshall in the conference tournament opener.
The first 14 minutes of the match had no shots on goal, with most of the play in the midfield area. Then the Huskies’ Ian Taylor had the ball on the left side and sent it to Shaun Slater towards the corner. Slater then passed to Jake McKenney on the right side who beat the Marshall goalie cleanly for a 1-0 advantage, which was the halftime score.
Nine minutes into the second half, Casey Higgason took a shot from 20 yards out that hit a Redhawk defender and bounced towards Heath Somers. Somers then ripped a shot from 25 yards out and it was 2-0 Huskies.
With 20 minutes remaining, Higgason dribbled into the penalty area and slid a perfect pass to a cutting Ian Taylor, who buried the shot for a 3-0 advantage. The Redhawks best chance came five minutes later on a shot from the corner that netminder Jeremy Krueger punched out at the last moment.
Krueger and Dillon Huss combined on their second shutout in a row and third of the season. The two goalies have allowed the opposition just 5 goals in the last seven contests. The Huskies, who are now 5-9-2 for the season, are 3-1-2 over their last six matches and finish the 2005 campaign with two games next week.
The Huskies demonstrated crisp passing throughout the contest and although they had just seven shots on goal, they controlled the play, with a number of shots sailing just wide or over the net. In its first 14 games, the team had scored two or more goals just three times, but now has reached that mark in consecutive games and has its first winning streak of the season.
The Northern Huskies opened the SMAC conference playoffs with a convincing 6-1 victory over the visiting Marshall Redhawks.
Marshall's defense was able to hold the Huskies out of the net for the first 16 minutes of the match until Matt Toepper put Northern on top at the 23:31 mark of the opening period with a good strike from the outer edge of the penalty box.
Marshall answered their goal just 2 minutes later as a charging Redhawk player collided with Northern goalkeep Eric Staver at the outer edge of the penalty box and was able to get just enough touch on the ball to trickle it toward and into the net to even the match at 1-1. The Marshall player did pay quite a price for that score, however, as the collision with Staver led to a broken nose.
The game then settled into a defensive battle for the next 15 minutes until Northern was again able to retake the lead on a Matt Hecker strike from the 18 which found the upper corner of the net. Then just 2 minutes later Matt Toepper again found the back of the Marshall net as he beat several Marshall defenders off the dribble and struck a shot from the side which beat the Marshall goalie.
Northern continued the offensive blitz with yet another goal just over a minute later as Zack Hurd finished off a long cross served up by Justin Bailey and Northern took a 4-1 lead into the halftime break.
As the second half of play began the Huskies continued the offensive fireworks with a score less then 1 minute into the half, as Matt Toepper completed his hat trick as he again beat several defenders off the dribble and rocketed a shot past the Redhawk goalkeeper.
The Huskies completed the scoring when Ronald Dewberry finished on a header off a Bailey service with just 2:57 remaining to produce the final 6-1 margin.
A total team effort with every Huskie participating and contributing was a great way to open up the conference playoffs. Northern will hope to keep up the good play next Tuesday as they meet the winner of the match between Battle Creek Lakeview and Stevensville-Lakeshore.
BATTLE CREEK LAKEVIEW SPARTANS - October 8, 2005
Junior Varsity Match:
Two excellent crossing passes, one in each half, resulted in goals for the JV Huskie soccer squad and the team continued its stingy defense in a 2-0 victory over Battle Creek Lakeview on Saturday.
Seven minutes into the match, Casey Higgason dribbled past a defender near the left corner and delivered a perfect ball to the opposite side of the field and Steve Carra found the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.
The score remained 1-0 until midway through the second half. Northern’s Aaron Stinson was set for a direct kick near the right sideline when he alertly saw an open Shaun Slater and tapped the ball to him. Slater pounded a perfect cross to an open Heath Somers on the left side. Somers, who just missed a goal late in the first half when his hard blast hit the crossbar, made no mistake on this one, heading the ball past the Spartan goalie.
The Huskie defense, which has allowed only five goals in its last six contests, frustrated the Spartans the rest of the way and netminders Dillon Huss and Jeremy Krueger combined on the shutout. Northern, which at one point had a 9-0 advantage in shots on goal, had a 9-3 edge in the first half and 14-6 for the game.
The same two teams battled to a 1-1 tie 10 days ago, a match in which the Huskies outshot the Spartans, 7-5. Saturday’s loss was only the third setback of the season for Lakeview.
The Portage JV team, with a 4-9-2 record, now gets ready for conference tournament action as its season winds down.
The Huskies completed the regular season portion of their schedule on Saturday, meeting a foe they had just met 10 days earier on the same field of play. The visitors were the Spartans of Battle Creek Lakeview and the Huskies validated their earlier result with another victory over the Spartans on a cold crisp October afternoon.
During the initial 30 minutes of play both teams struggled to mount offense and play was predominantly between the 18's as neither team was able to muster a serious challenge on the other's net. But with just over 15 minutes to play in the opening half Justin Bailey sent a corner kick across the goal mouth to the far post which Matt Hecker was able to head into the net for a 1-0 Northern lead. The Huskies carried that slim margin into the break.
During the initial 15 minutes of the 2nd half the visitors picked up their intensity and applied increased pressure on the Northern defense. With about 25 minutes to play the Spartans were able to draw a foul in the penalty area. The ensuing PK attempt, however, was stiffled by a great diving save from Eric Staver and the slim 1-0 margin was preserved. The Spartans, however, continued to apply good pressure and Staver was forced to make several other key saves to maintain the Huskie lead. Then, with just over 13 minutes to play, Northern was able to add to their lead as Justin Bailey sent a long cross into the penalty area which Zack Hurd was able to track down and finish on for a 2-0 lead.
This latest Huskie victory lifted Northern's overall season record to 13-3-2. The next action will be on Thursday evening as the SMAC tournament gets underway. The Huskies will enjoy the home field throughout the conference tournament thanks to their conference leading regular season record.
Go Huskies....good luck in conference playoffs!!
ST. JOSEPH BEARS - October 6, 2005
Junior Varsity Match:
The Portage Northern JV soccer team battled St. Joseph on even terms through most of the game Thursday before surrendering a late goal in a 1-0 victory for the undefeated Bears.
It was the fifth consecutive game in which the Northern defense has only given up one goal, but the team’s offensive woes continue and as a result the Huskies are 1-2-2 during that stretch. The visiting Portage squad had 14 shots on goal to 12 for St. Joseph, the fourth match in a row in which the Huskies have outshot the opposition. Eleven of the Northern shots came in the second half.
The Huskies fell to 3-9-2 and the Bears improved to 10-0-0.
The improving Huskies just can’t finish their offensive opportunities, but have come close to good teams in recent games. In addition to giving St. Joe a tough game, the team had two close decisions last week with teams with very good records. A late second half goal gave 13-1 South Haven a 1-0 win over Northern and the Huskies fought Battle Creek Lakeview, a team with a 7-3-2 mark, to a 1-1 tie.
The team has a home rematch with Lakeview Saturday.
The Portage Northern Huskies traveled to the "Bear Den" last evening, home of the undefeated and No. 5 ranked (Division II) St. Joe Bears, for a SMAC cross-over game involving the SMAC central and west division leaders.The high flying Bears came into the match with a 10-0 record and it became clear early in the match that the visitors from Portage were focused on playing a good game.
The Huskies came out strong and put pressure on the home squad from the beginning and were rewarded for their efforts as Zack Hurd delivered on yet another diving header finishing off a long cross from Justin Bailey to give Northern the early lead 1-0.
Northern continued to pressure the ball and control play throughout much of the opening half, with St. Joe finally coming up with a few dangerous scoring opportunities in the final minutes of the half. The home team was unable to capitalize on these opportunities, however, and the score remained 1-0 at the half.
The Bears were determined to pick up their level of intensity as the 2nd half got under way, but Northern was able to match this higher level of play and continued to control play wth good ball movement and a solid defensive effort. Then, with just under 25 minutes to play, the Huskies were able to expand their lead as Kevin Kay crossed a ball through the box which found Matt Hecker on the far post who finished to give Northern a 2-0 margin.
Northern then held off a furious Bear attack in the final minutes to earn a 2-0 victory and remain undefeated in conference play. It was a well-played match between two excellent teams and the win allowed Northern to end an undefeated record against an undefeated opponent for the 3rd time this season. St. Joe, Portage Central and South Haven have single losses on their season records, courtesy of the Huskies.
Following Saturday's home match with Battle Creek Lakeview, the Huskies will enjoy the home field advantage throughout the conference tournament during the next two weeks thanks to their victory last night.
KALAMAZOO CENTRAL MAROON GIANTS - October 4, 2005
Junior Varsity Match:
The Portage Northern JV Soccer team and the Kalamazoo Central Maroon Giants battled to a 1-1 tie, despite the Huskies’ 15-8 advantage in shots on goal.
The Huskies struck first, 15 minutes into the game, when Heath Somers converted off a direct kick from Aaron Stinson. Less than four minutes of the second half had been played when the Kalamazoo squad tied it, also connecting off a direct kick.
The Huskies carried the play throughout the rest of the second stanza, outshooting the visiting Giants, 8-3, and winning the corner kick battle, 6-0. For the game, Northern had nine corner kicks to one for Kalamazoo Central.
Both teams had nine direct kicks in the contest, with all of the Maroon Giants’ boots coming in the second half. The Huskies are now 3-8-2 on the season, but are 1-0-2 in their last three games. The team plays at St. Joseph on Thursday and hosts Battle Creek Lakeview on Saturday.
The Huskies kept their perfect home record in tact tonight with a hard fought 3-1 victory over the visiting Maroon Giants from Kalamazoo Central.
Ronald Dewberry opened the scoring approximately 10 minutes into the contest when he carried the ball down the sideline, cut back toward the middle of the field, and fired a laser shot from about 25 yards out which beat the KC goalie for a 1-0 Northern lead.
The Maroon Giants answered that goal about 10 minutes later with a PK to knot the score at 1-1.
The Huskies then extended their lead on a Justin Bailey PK after Mitch Kinner was taken down in the penalty area by a KC defender. The go ahead goal came with about 9 minutes to play in the first half and the half ended with the Huskies clinging to a 2-1 margin.
The Maroon Giants tightened up their defense in the 2nd half of play and, despite good pressure from the Northern offense, managed to keep the Huskies out of the net until just under 3 minutes remaining in the match when Ronald Dewberry was able to finish with a flick over the KC goalies head to produce the final 3-1 result favoring the home team.
The win kept the Huskies in first place in the tough central division of the SMAC.
The Huskies now venture to the not-so-friendly home field of the St. Joe Bears for a cross-over match on Thursday evening.
BATTLE CREEK LAKEVIEW SPARTANS - September 29, 2005
Junior Varsity Match:
The Portage Northern JV soccer team battled Battle Creek Lakeview to a 1-1 tie Thursday, with neither team allowing a goal in the second half in the defense-minded contest.
Midway through the opening stanza, the Huskies’ An Nguyen was pulled down in the box, setting up a penalty kick. Christian Schreiber then buried the PK for a 1-0 lead. With six minutes left in the half, Lakeview tied it.
Utilizing some crisp passing, the Huskies had the play in the Spartan end for the majority of the game, but still had trouble getting shots on the goalie as the Lakeview defense continually broke up possible scoring chances.
The Northern defense – led by Matt Phillips, Sean Hurley, Shaun Slater and Aaron Stinson – was especially tough, giving the Spartans very few opportunities. Huskie goalies Dillon Huss and Jeremy Krueger were also very strong.
Northern had a very slight statistical edge, topping the Spartans in shots on goal, 7-5; corner kicks, 7-6; and direct kicks, 7-6.
The Huskies host Kalamazoo Central on Tuesday.
On a crisp fall evening the Portage Northern Huskies played host to the Battle Creek Lakeview Spartans in a SMAC crossover game.
Both teams sit on top of their respective divisions within the SMAC and it was a tough physical contest with both teams struggling to create scoring opportunities.
Lakeview applied some strong offensive pressure with about 5 minutes to play in the first half but Eric Staver came up with several big saves to keep the Huskies in the contest. The half ended with the game still knotted up at 0-0.
The second half was more of the same until Northern finally broke thru when a long Justin Bailey cross off a free kick from the east sideline carried thru the goal box and found the foot of a waiting Kyle Martin on the far side of the box. Kyle buried a left foot shot into the corner of the net to give the Huskies the lead with 10:24 to play.
Lakeview continued to battle and applied heat on the Northern defense but the Huskies were up to the challenge and held on for a hard-earned 1-0 victory.
The Huskies completed their three game week long homestand with 3 victories improving their season record to 10-3-2.
BATTLE CREEK CENTRAL BEARCATS - September 27, 2005
Junior Varsity Match:
The Portage Northern JV soccer team dominated throughout as eight different players scored goals in a 10-1 victory over Battle Creek Central, breaking a Huskie four-game losing streak.
Mike Lara’s goal, on an assist from Ian Taylor, opened the scoring 10 minutes into the match. Five minutes later, Shaun Slater’s pass found An Nguyen, who made no mistake in finding the back of the net for a 2-0 advantage.
The Bearcats closed the gap to 2-1, but goals by Heath Somers and Casey Higgason made it 4-1 and Ian Taylor upped it to 5-1 at halftime on a pass from Mike Lara. The Huskies had 16 shots on goal in the half, compared to 2 for the Battle Creek squad.
Three minutes into the second half, Jake McKenney scored, assisted by Casey Higgason, and McKenney connected again three minutes later for a 7-1 lead. Goals by Mike Lara and Christian Schreiber (on a penalty kick) upped the margin to 9-1, and Steve Carra closed the scoring, beating the Bearcat goalie with nine seconds left in the game, Carra’s ninth shot on goal in the contest.
The Huskies outshot the Bearcats, 30-3, and won the corner kick battle, 7-0. The JV team is now 3-8-0 and hosts Battle Creek Lakeview Thursday.
The Battle Creek Bearcats came calling tonight and were treated rather rudely by the homestanding Huskies of Portage Northern.
After a lethargic first 10 minutes, which may have been due to the lingering effects of the previous night's tough match with South Haven, the Huskies got the score fest going with six first half goals to take a big lead into the halftime break.
Then it took Justin Bailey exactly 9 seconds into the second half to continue the onslaught with a lightening strike to put the home team up 7-0. Three additional goals led to a 10-0 lead and the mercy rule ended the match about 30 minutes into the 2nd half of play.
It was a fun and more relaxing night of soccer for Northern in a game which featured goals by eight different players (Kinner, Hecker, Rhodes, Kay, Toepper(2), Bailey, Hurd(2), and Dewberry). Eric Staver and Andrew Novaria shared time in goal to earn the shutout for Northern.
Every Huskie player participated and contributed to this latest Northern victory which helped the Huskies keep their perfect SMAC Central Division record in tact.
Next action is Thursday evening when Northern travels to a yet-to-be-determined east division SMAC opponent for a crossover conference match.
SOUTH HAVEN RAMS- September 26, 2005
Junior Varsity Match:
The Portage Northern JV soccer team gave up a late goal and lost to South Haven 1-0, in a very evenly played match.
The Rams scored with 11 minutes to go in the game on a direct kick in the defensive-minded contest. Both teams had three shots on goal in the scoreless first half and South Haven outshot the Huskies in the second half, 6-5. Four of the Huskies shots on goal in the second stanza occurred in the first 6 minutes of the half as the Huskies threatened on a number of occasions.
The Huskies, who dropped their 3rd one-goal decision of the season, fell to a 2-8-0 record, while the South Haven JV squad improved to 10-1-0.
The Huskies host Battle Creek Central Tuesday and have a crossover road game on Thursday.
The Portage Northern Huskies met South Haven in a rare Monday night home match and came away with a heart-stopping 2-1 victory over a very talented and highly ranked South Haven squad.
The match started as a see-saw battle in the opening half with the visitors drawing first blood about 30 minutes into the match as they moved the ball quickly down the sideline and slotted the ball across to a breaking David Barden (former 2-year club teammate of Justin Bailey and Eric Staver) who deposited a good shot into the goal. The first half ended with South Haven holding on to a 1-0 lead.
In the second half the action was intense with the visitors trying to get that 2nd insurance goal and Northern determined to draw even.
Thirteen minutes into the half the Huskies cashed in when Justin Bailey threaded a pass across the box to Zack Hurd who beat the South Haven goalie to even up the match.
South Haven then picked up the tempo and pressured the Northern defense with their speed up top. The Huskie defense, anchored by Eric Staver in goal, refused to buckle and held the visitors until the Northern offense was able to strike again with a patented Bailey cross which Zack Hurd was able to finish on with a well-placed header to the corner of the net and past the South Haven goalie.
The go-ahead goal came with just over 13 minutes to play and Northern then held off a furious South Haven attack in the closely minutes to come away with the victory. It was an exciting, entertaining match between two excellent teams, and a well-deserved win for the Huskies
EAST LANSING INVITATIONAL - September 24, 2005
Junior Varsity Matches:
The Portage Northern JV soccer team lost two low-scoring games Saturday in East Lansing, 2-1 to Lowell, and 2-0 to Mason.
In the first contest, the Huskies fought Lowell to a scoreless first half, but the Red Arrows, who went on to win the JV tournament championship, struck twice early in the second half for a 2-0 advantage.
At the 10:00 minute mark of the second stanza, the Huskies’ Casey Higgason ripped a hard shot that the Lowell goalie saved, but Dave Pouliot stormed in from the left side and put in the rebound to close the gap to 2-1. Northern threatened a few more times, but could not get the equalizer.
In the second game, the Huskies couldn’t get their offense going and Mason took a 1-0 halftime lead, expanding it to a two-goal lead midway through the second half. The Bulldog defenders remained tough throughout, limiting the Huskies to two shots on goal.
The Huskies play two home games this week, before going on the road for a Thursday match. On Monday, South Haven comes to town and Battle Creek Central visits Northern on Tuesday.
PORTAGE CENTRAL MUSTANGS - September 20, 2005
Portage Northern Huskies are victorious in big match vs. Portage Central!!!!
The crosstown rivals had another classic matchup tonight at the Mustang's home field and Northern came away with an incredible 2-1 overtime victory.
The opening half of play featured good defense as Northern played a defensive style which limited Central's opportunities. The teams entered the intermission tied up 0-0.
Portage Central came out strong at the start of the 2nd half and applied increased pressure to Northern's bend but not break defense, and several good opportunites were thwarted by Eric Staver playing a strong game in net for the Huskies.
Then with 25 minutes remaining in the half a Central player was fouled in the penalty area and Eric Alexander netted the ensuing PK for a 1-0 Mustang lead.
The Huskies continued to play hard, however, and were finally rewarded for their efforts with just over a minute remaining in regulation time when a ball was touched over to Zack Hurd in front of the Central net and Hurd slotted a shot past the Mustang goalie and into the net with his left foot. Regulation time ended with the score tied 1-1.
As the teams kicked off the overtime period it became a game of will and determination as players from both teams were physically spent.
Then with just under 7 minutes remaining in the 15 minute overtime period, Justin Bailey dribbled up the middle past a few PC defenders and launched a shot from about 20 yards which sailed over the outstretched arms of the PC goalie and into the upper portion of the net for an incredible Huskie comeback win.
The Northern faithful celebrated a great victory, which will be remembered as another classic match in this rivalry.
Congratulations Huskies on a great win!!
Junior Varsity Match:
The Northern JV soccer team fell behind rival Portage Central at halftime, 3-0, and ending up dropping a 5-0 decision to the Mustangs.
The winning Mustangs controlled most of the game, except for the first 10 minutes of the second half when the Huskies picked it up, almost scoring twice.
Four of the five Huskie shots on goal came after intermission. Christian Schreiber had three of the Northern shots on goal and Shaun Slater just missed connecting when he beat Mustang goalie Tyler Champion to the ball just inside the 18-yard-line, but his shot went just wide.
The JV squad is now 2-5-0 on the season and play two games at East Lansing Saturday before returning home Monday and Tuesday for contests with South Haven and Battle Creek Central.
EAST KENTWOOD FALCONS - September 17, 2005
Junior Varsity Match:
Casey Higgason’s two goals early in the second half propelled the Northern JV team to a 2-0 victory over East Kentwood on Saturday.
The teams played a back and forth first half, with neither team able to beat the goaltenders. The Huskies carried the play after intermission and Higgason, who had five shots on goal in the game, finally found the back of the net three minutes into the half. Two minutes leader, he beat the East Kentwood goalie again after an excellent lead pass from Heath Somers.
The Huskies used an efficient one-touch passing offense and a stifling defense to set the tone in the second half. The Northern defense, led by Matt Phillips, Sean Hurley and Dan Pouliot, continually frustrated the Falcons, holding them to two shots on goal in the second stanza.
Dillon Huss and Jeremy Krueger shared the shutout in the nets for the Huskies, who improved to 2-4-0 on the season and play at rival Portage Central Tuesday before heading to East Lansing Saturday for three games in the East Lansing Invitational.
MATTAWAN WILDCATS - September 15, 2005
Junior Varsity Match:
The JV soccer held a tough Mattawan squad scoreless in the first half Thursday, but the Wildcats eventually wore down the Huskies as Northern fell, 3-0.
Huskie goalie Dillon Huss made a number of key saves in the opening half to keep it tied, even though Mattawan carried the play to the Huskies throughout the game.
The shots finally began to fall for the unbeaten Wildcats in the second half as the Mattawan squad improved to 4-0-1, while Northern fell to 1-4-0.
The Huskies play at East Kentwood Saturday and at Portage Central on Tuesday.
The Huskies traveled to intradivisional rival Mattawan on Thursday evening in hopes of keeping their perfect central division SMAC record in tact.
After coming out and playing a tough first 10 minutes of soccer with the Wildcats the Huskies settled into a lull and Mattawan took advantage with a couple of first half goals off the foot of Kyle Simonds.
It looked at that point that it could be a long night for the visitors, and the team received "a few kind words of advice" from the coaching staff during the half time break.
The 2nd half got off to an encouraging start as Matt Toepper challenged the Mattawan defense deep in the Wildcat end of the field in the first minute of play and was taken down in the penalty area. An ensuing PK off the reliable foot of Justin Bailey got the Huskies on the scoreboard and cut the Mattawan lead to 2-1.
The goal seemed to energize Northern and their play picked up in intensity. Still, that tying goal was not easy to come by, but finally came the Huskies way with just under 20 minutes remaining in the 2nd half as Matt Hecker won the ball near the midfield sideline and sent a cross into the center of the field that was gathered in by Collin Doyd who slotted a nice pass to a breaking Justin Bailey up the middle and JB rifled a shot into the upper corner of the net to tie the game at 2-2.
Everyone could now sense the momentum shifting the Huskies way and seven minutes later Casey Higgason, just pulled up from the JV squad for tonight's game, battled for a loose ball in front of the Wildcat net and his effort paid off as he was able to finish on a shot which put Northern up 3-2 with just over 12 minutes remaining.
The Huskies were really feeling the addrenalin pump by this time and continued the onslaught with two more goals in the final 10 minutes of the game, one by Mitch Kinner off an assist from Ronald Dewberry, and the final goal was netted by Dewberry off an assist by Zack Hurd.
The incredible comeback was complete and the Huskies celebrated a 5-2 win over the home team. Eric Staver, coming off an injury, anchored a stout Northern defense that picked up their intensity greatly in the 2nd half of play and allowed the offense to get going. Brandon Suhr, Matt Blair, Ryan Dasgupta, Steve Labadie, Kyle Martin and Kirk Darling all provided awesome 2nd half efforts on the defensive half of the field against a very talented and quick Mattawan offense.
All in all, an exciting night of soccer and a well-deserved victory for Northern.
KALAMAZOO LOY NORRIX KNIGHTS - September 13, 2005
Junior Varsity Match:
The Northern JV soccer squad pressured Loy Norrix late in Tuesday’s game, but couldn’t come up with the tying goal as the young Huskies, fell, 2-1, to the Knights in a very even contest.
Loy Norrix led at halftime, 1-0, as the Knights continually attacked the Huskies, finally scoring with 13 minutes left in the half.
Northern carried the play much of the second half. Three minutes into the second stanza, the Huskies tied it when Jake McKenney scored on a perfect crossing pass from Casey Higgason. The same two players almost gave the Huskies the lead five minutes later, but Higgason’s pass just missed connecting with McKenney, who was open again on the left side of the net.
The Knights scored midway through the period for a 2-1 advantage and the Huskies came close, but could not get the equalizer.
With 11 minutes left, Ryan McClish’s 30-yard blast went just wide and a minute later Heath Somers’ long shot sailed over the crossbar.
The Huskies are now 1-3-0 on the season and play Thursday at Mattawan, Saturday at East Kentwood and Tuesday, September 20, at rival Portage Central.
The Huskies played host to the Knights of Loy Norrix in a SMAC Central Division match.
With temperatures well beyond the norm for mid-September, the Huskies tried to turn up the heat even more on the Knights early in the match as Matt Toepper finished up on a well-played through ball delivered from the foot of Kirk Darling to give Northern a 1-0 lead only 5 minutes into the match.
The Knights, however, proved to be a very worthy foe and fought back to score the equalizer with just over 11 minutes remaining in the first half by scoring on a put-back after a scramble in front of the Huskie goal following a corner kick.
The half ended with the teams still deadlocked 1-1.
The Huskies came out after the half determined to regain the lead, but a goal was not easy to come by and both teams struggled to muster any dangerous scoring opportunities.
Finally with just over six minutes to go in the match and overtime looking more and more probable, the Huskies cashed in as Justin Bailey launched a direct kick from about 25 yards out on the left side which hit off the top of the crossbar, came back out in front of the net, and Ronald Dewberry cleaned up for the go ahead goal.
It was an exciting finish to a hard fought match and got Northern back on a winning track after a tough loss in Traverse City over the weekend.
TRAVERSE CITY WEST TITANS - September 10, 2005
Junior Varsity Match:
The Portage Northern JV mens' soccer team had trouble generating any offense Saturday and the result was a 3-0 loss to Traverse City West.
The Huskies registered only two shots on goal in the opening half and trailed at the break, 2-0.
In the second half, Huskie goalie Jeremy Krueger came up with a couple of excellent saves, but West scored once on a defensive miscommunication which resulted in a breakaway.
Mid-way through the half, the Huskies came close when Casey Higgason's direct kick went just over the top of the goal. In the last four minutes, the Huskies had three shots that went just wide of the net.
Northern had only one corner kick in the game.
The JV team is now 1-2-0 as it prepares for three games this week, beginning with Tuesday's battle against Kalamazoo Loy Norrix Knights.
Note- the Boosters meeting originally scheduled for Sept 12 has been moved to Sept 19 (see Boosters page)
STEVENSVILLE-LAKESHORE LANCERS - September 6, 2005
Junior Varsity Match:
The Portage Northern JV soccer team went out to an early 2-0 lead, scoring on its first two shots on goal early in the game and went on to a 6-1 victory over Stevensville Lakeshore.
Casey Higgason opened the scoring with a left-footed blast seven minutes into the contest and then assisted on a Mike Lara goal at the 10-minute mark. Lakeshore followed with a goal 30 seconds later and it was 2-1 Huskies less than 11 minutes into the game and it appeared a shootout was in the making.
After that, however it was all Huskies. Higgason scored again at the 22:00 mark on a pass from Sean Hurley. Lakeshore threatened one more time in the half on a corner kick, but defender Matt Phillips was the goalie’s best friend, kicking the ball out at the last moment, to preserve the 3-1 halftime advantage.
The second half was scoreless for the first 10 minutes until Heath Somers took over for Northern, scoring on two long-range blasts three minutes apart. He scored from 30 yards out to open the second-half scoring and found the back of the net from 25 yards out on a pass from Higgason. Jake McKenney’s goal with five minutes left closed the scoring.
The Huskies came close a couple of other times. An Nguyen’s apparent goal was waved off with an offsides call and Ian Taylor came close, blasting a shot off the post early in the second half.
Goalies Dillon Huss and Jeremy Krueger combined for the victory in the nets as Steve Morrison’s JV squad improved to 1-1-0 on the season, with the next game set for Saturday at 3:00 pm in Traverse City
The Huskies traveled to Stevensville-Lakeshore to do battle with the Lancers in the opening match of the conference portion of the season and came away with a 4-1 victory.
Northern's version of the Dynamic Duo again led the way for the Huskies as seniors Zack Hurd and Justin Bailey each chipped in with 2 goals.
The first goal came 10 minutes into the contest as the smallest man on the field, Mitch Kinner, won a jump ball in front of the Lancer goal and headed the ball to a waiting Zack Hurd who finished into the back of the net for a 1-0 Northern lead.
Then 28 minutes into the half Hurd headed a corner cross from Bailey into the net for a 2-0 lead for the Huskies.
The Lancers picked up the tempo early in the second half of play and threatened to make a game of it by scoring on a well-placed shot into the upper corner of the net from just inside the eighteen to make it a 2-1 game. But a short time later a Bailey blast into the Lancer net from about 25 yards out re-established the 2 goal margin and the Huskies were on their way to victory.
A patented Justin Bailey PK with about 15 minutes to go finished the scoring for the Huskies and provided the final 4-1 margin of victory. Justin Rhodes, subbing for an injured Eric Staver, earned the victory in goal for Northern.
The Huskies will bus up to Traverse City for their next action on Saturday against the Traverse City West Titans before returning to the comforts of home for two matches next week.
HOLLAND WEST OTTAWA PANTHERS - August 30, 2005
Junior Varsity Match:
The Portage Northern jv Men's soccer opened the 2005 season Tuesday by scoring the game's first goal less than 10 minutes into the contest, but the Holland West Ottawa jv squad took a 2-1 halftime lead with a pair of goals in the final 12 minutes of the half and the Panthers took control in the second half and went on to a 5-1 victory.
Casey Higgason, on a pass from Ian Taylor, connected from the right side, but Northern could not score again. The young Huskie squad, with 13 freshman on a squad of 18, had trouble penetrating the tough Panther defense. Holland West Ottawa has a freshmen team, as well as jv and varsity
Portage Northern met the Holland West Ottawa Panthers on the pitch Tuesday night in the first home game of the 2005 fall season and came away with an efficient 2-0 victory over the visitors.
Both teams came out fired up but Northern broke through for a goal 17 minutes into the match on what is becoming a common occurence at this early juncture of the season......a header finish from Zack Hurd coming off a long service from Justin Bailey.
Then with 9 minutes remaining in the first half, Mitch Kinner was fouled in the penalty area and Justin Bailey converted the PK into a 2-0 Husky lead which stood up for the remainder of the evening.
A sound Northern defense held West Ottawa to a single shot on goal while the Huskies carried the play for much of the evening. Eric Staver recorded his third straight shutout in goal for the Huskies. The next action for the Huskies is next Tuesday at Stevensville-Lakeshore.
The 2005 season for PN Men's Soccer got off to a fast start Saturday with action in the Portage "3 for 1" tournament at the Portage Soccer Complex.
The Huskies played three tough matches starting with a 9am affair vs Warren DeLaSalle. Northern struck for an early goal coming off the foot of Kevin Kay, but a game DeLaSalle team responded with two goals to take a 2-1 lead which held up until midway through the 2nd half when Matt Toepper was taken down in the penalty area and Justin Bailey cooly stepped up and drilled the PK into the upper corner of the net to even the score at 2-2. The celebrating was short-lived, however, as DeLaSalle responded within the next minute to retake the lead 3-2. The Huskies, however, were not through yet, and another goal late in the contest by Kevin Kay gave Northern a tie against the highly touted team from Warren.
Next up was a Rockford team coming off a morning victory over Mattawan. The Huskies scored about eight minutes into the contest on a diving header from Zack Hurd off a corner service from Justin Bailey and then got an insurance goal later in the match from sophomore Brandon Suhr, again coming off an assist from Bailey. A tough "D" made these goals hold up for a 2-0 win over Rockford.
The third opponent of the day for the Huskies was the always tough Forrest Hills Central squad from Grand Rapids. Both teams struggled to mount offense in this contest and each showed signs of fatigue after playing under sunny 80 degree temperatures for much of the day. The game ended in a 0-0 draw and the Huskies settled for a 1-0-2 record for the day. It was a fun and entertaining day of soccer with a total of 12 teams participating in the tournament. It looks like this year's PN team will provide another exciting season of Huskie soccer for Portage Northern fans.
Concession Stand Schedule is on-line: click here to view