Portage launch site
Portage Northern High School
2008 Women's Soccer
Head Coach: Andy Fuehr
Junior Varsity Coach: Pat Tetreault
Varsity Assistants: David Groves, Erin Carlson & Justin Rhodes
Trainer: Julianna Gravlin
Regional Champions, District Champions, SMAC Champions.
Congratulations Huskies on a great season that family, friends, and fans enjoyed tremendously.
For a slideshow of game action photos from throughout the season, click here.
Thanks to Ed Stinson for the varsity game summaries, Sharon Strazdas for the JV summaries.
CONGRATULATIONS ALSO FOR POSTSEASON HONORS:
Samantha Kay, Mary McCarthy, Samantha Pace, Anna Stinson
Megan Hayes, Jillian Karrick, Samantha Kay, Mary McCarthy, Samantha Pace, Anna Stinson, Cassie VanderSloot
ALL CONFERENCE (SMAC CENTRAL)-
MOST IMPROVED- Natalie McClish
MVP- Anna Stinson and Mary McCarthy
ACADEMIC ALL STATE- Alicia Conde-Lopez and Mary McCarthy
TEAM GPA of 3.75 (third best in the state!)
Portage Northern finishes up one game shy of the state title game, by falling to the University of Forest Hills Central in the state semi-finals. This is how the college game is supposed to be played. Size, speed, with some physicality thrown in did I say size and speed yet? And to make things even tougher, the game was played on the home Turf of the U of FHC. But the high school team with the grass field came to play, and hung tough up to the final few minutes.
FHC spent the first ten minutes working around the Northern goal. When the Huskies finally got near the Ranger goal in the 11th minute, they didn't waste the opportunity. Freshman Laura Glass sent a ball into the box and Sam Pace made a perfect trap and flip shot just over the goalie's head and Northern went up 1-0. Northern played FHC evenly in the middle of the period, but with just five minutes left in the half, the opponent finally found the net to tie the score at the half, 1-1.
Between 1,500 and 2,000 fans were in tune with an excellent match, which started with a game time temperature near 90 degrees. Northern thanks the tremendous turn out by students, relatives, and friends of the program for making the trek north.
The game remained tied well into the second half, but 15 minutes in, the Rangers found the net on a shot that seemed hidden for most of its low trajectory, rising above the defense and goalie into the upper corner at the last second. FHC finally had their first lead at 2-1. Northern had a few opportunities to tie the game, but the Rangers just kept bringing it! Finally, with just five minutes left in the contest, with Northern taking more chances to try to even the score, Central scored an insurance goal and again two minutes later found the net again as the wind was sucked out of the sails for Northern. For 75 minutes in this game, the Huskie defense made a tremendous stand against perhaps the best team in the state.
Northern moves up to Division One next year, and out of D-2. As long as Forest Hills Central stays in D-2, this could be a good move for Northern!
In a discussion with a Forest Hills parent after the game, they stated "This is the toughest game we have had all year, possibly up there with Unity Christian". The Rangers broke the Crusaders 99 game winning streak in that game. And they just broke the Huskies 17 game winning streak also.
The Huskies have outscored their opponents 105-19 this year, with 7 of those 19 goals coming from the Rangers. The Dawg Defense gave up more than one goal in only three games this season; FHC 4 and 3, and PC 2. Northern finishes 22-3-1.
Northern loses more than the game tonight:
Senior Liz Bejcek: Liz suffered an injury early in the year, but was present with the team always. Liz would be at practice and games without exception, many times lugging a school back pack across the field using crutches. Thanks for your sacrifice Liz, for not giving up on your team, and good luck in your future.
Senior Carolyn Hawkins: Carolyn's love of soccer is very evident, and her desire to score a goal was possibly exceeded by only one thing all the Huskie fans desire that she would score. Her opportunities would bring fans off their seat cushions in anticipation. The world may not see that goal this year, but in the future they will see an award winning smile, kindness, artistry, and desire to make the world a better place. Thank you Hawk, Hawk, Hawk for your years of Huskie soccer.
Senior Mary McCarthy: Where will I be next year and years to come without Mary there to motivate me, to lead me to accomplish things I didn't think I could accomplish, to set an example of hard work and sportsmanship, to excel in everything, to be creative, to help others less fortunate, to compete against the best and to be the best. Where will I be?? And I am just a parent!
Exchange Student Alicia Conde-Lopez: The Google translators are lame, so I will share in English. The talent that Alicia brought to the American pitch helped this Northern team exceed but the smile and laughter she brought, and the tears she left this last game with, tell her story and her impact even more so. Alicia leaves for Spain in a few days, but she doesn't take that Impact with her, but rather leaves it in the hearts of her teammates. Good luck Alicia, and thanks for choosing Portage Northern.
So, the Huskies long season, made longer by this post-season run, finally comes to rest. But wait, Club soccer tryouts are this weekend and next week
Addenum: The way the scoreboard looked most of the first half was a sight not often seen on the Rangers' home field, and PN capped an exciting season with an exciting game. Forest Hills Central was ranked#3 in the state overall, and that was before the top two teams were both upset. Husky fans everywhere are proud of the way this PN team played all year, and the way they played against what looks to be the best team in the state. FHC was fast, skilled, and physical. They won more balls in the air, and they took more shots. But you have to be very impressed with the heart that PN played with, and the speed, skill, and strength they displayed was also very impressive. CONGRATULATIONS HUSKIES ON A GREAT SEASON!!! Congrats also to FHC and good luck to them in the state final against Bloomfield Hills Lahser, who defeated Dexter 1-0 (more scores).
The regional championship game was rescheduled from Friday night when severe heat turned into severe storms. On this Saturday game, the heat clipped 80 under the clouds, 90 under the sun, and over 100 on the field with those small rubber pellets sucking up energy. A large contingent of Orange clad fans settled into the molten metal bleachers to witness a Huskie team on fire since their last loss nearly one month and 18 games ago to Forest Hills Central.
Kudos in this game go to each member of the team, as all contributed to the victory. The defense fired up their 13th shutout of the season, and did not allow much penetration at all from Chelsea, which finishes a fine season in their run to the regional final. Northern's defenders moved the ball around to perfection in this game in helping Jillian Karrick notch the shutout in goal. Mary McCarthy, Megan Hayes and Andrea Jones corralled any chances Chelsea generated beyond the midfield. Melissa Scafaria made some excellent stops soon after entering the game, including an excellent tackle on Chelsea's main offensive player.
The game was played pretty evenly for nearly 30 minutes to start the game. Northern generated a few corner kicks and Chelsea misfired on a reset just outside the box after a Huskie foul. With 12 minutes left in the half, after a Chelsea infraction near midfield, freshman Laura Glass set the ball in place and hit the 50-yarder perfectly into the box and off the goalie, where Anna Stinson waited to punch home the rebound for the first tally of the game. With just four minutes left in the half, Sammy Kay headed a corner kick toward the goal where a defender did the only thing she could do slap it out with her hand. The handball in the box generated a penalty kick, which Stinson drilled into the net for 2-0 Huskie lead at the half.
Northern got the all-important third goal just three minutes into the second half with Stinson dropping a pass into Kay, who put on a nice move to get by the final defender and blasted a shot past the goalie. The Huskies scored again soon after, with Cassie VanderSloot slotting the ball into Kay who buried her second goal of the game and giving the Dawgs a 4-0 lead. Krista Clancy finished the scoring after a nifty pass from Sam Pace, who received the ball from Glass. The nice combination gave the Huskies a 5-0 win and a regional title.
Game ball goes to Juliana Gravlin, for tending to players when they are hurt or assisting them when they come off the field. Thanks Julianna, for your help all year, all sports!
Game haircut goes to Justin Rhodes. Who will have the lucky haircut for the FH Central game?
Northern takes a 22-2-1 record into the state semi-finals on Wednesday night, at FH Central and vs. FH Central what's wrong with that picture!! Wednesday's winner will play Saturday at East Kentwood for the state title.
Corporate America produces fewer goods and services when soccer regionals are happening. When else but 8 to 5 can you check and double-check Accuweather Radar and the big green, yellow and red splotch floating toward West Michigan? When else can you read game recaps of your evenings opponent? (Holland Christian has superior game summaries!) When else can you stare in space and consider moving on in the state tournament? Sure you could do this outside of normal working hours, but when would you eat and sleep?
Holland Christian brought a very young team to this regional contest and showed that it could be a regular regional contestant for years to come. But on this night Northern (21-2-1) played well enough to squeeze out a 3-1 victory and move on to Fridays regional championship game vs. 5th ranked Chelsea (7pm at Plainwell).
It seems most teams long for the versatile turf field, except for those teams that play on real grass all year long. It seemed to take the Huskies a while to figure out the bounces and the speed of the field, especially in light of the wet surface from a day of rain. But the defense always seem to tighten up right at the opportune moment and goalie Jillian Karrick made a few splendid saves (six saves in all) in limiting HC to just one goal off a corner kick with 13 minutes left in the game. Cassie VanderSloot controlled the defensive midfield and won many balls and battles to help Northerns possession factor.
Northern started the scoring in the 11th minute, when the Sams Pace and Kay worked their magic; Pace to Kay in a small flurry of activity around the net. That goal stood up as the only score in the first half. Northern had a few other chances in the period, with Rachel Meyer just missing on a high blast and Laura Glass smacking the crossbar on a long shot off a reset.
Early in the second half Pace found the net by flicking a right-footed floater just over the head of the goalie. Anna Stinson assisted on the goal. Holland Christian picked up the attack a few times over the course of the second half, with one ball sliding across the crossbar with 15 minutes left. Then the HC goal two minutes later tightened things up (2-1) and looked like a certain momentum shift. Just two minutes later however, Northern countered with an insurance goal, off a Krista Clancy assist, with Stinson flicking a left-footed floater just over the head of the goalie.
Flicking Floaters for the Finals. Fabulous!
Joyce "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" McClish again predicted her pre-game goal tally during the growing parental Huskie Huddle "three goals tonight; we're gonna have to play good defense cause I'm only feeling three goals". Normally three goals would feel pretty good, but in today's District Title game, those three goals didn't feel that good until about one minute left in the game.
Plainwell lulled the Huskies into thinking the Trojans weren't that sound of a club during an 8-0 Husky victory a few weeks ago (although their 17-3 record and the return of their sweeper would make one wonder!). Northern didn't seem to take the bait though and over the first 30 minutes kept the ball on the Huskie offensive half of the field throughout. Plainwell packed their defensive end in hopes to keep the game close and fire up some offense later.
In the 19th minute, senior Mary McCarthy, fresh off graduation ceremonies the night before, finished a rebound of a Samantha Kay shot to stake the Huskies to a 1-0 lead. What was a defensive player doing within feet of the opponent's net? Mary was taking advice from the graduation speaker: "you have to create opportunities for yourself; don't be so defensive; victory awaits those that take risks".
OK, so I wasn't at the ceremony, but they say the same thing at every one of those things anyway.
With seven minutes remaining in the half, Anna Stinson was tripped in the box on a drive to the net. She was rewarded with a penalty kick and buried it for a 2-0 lead. It seemed at this point the Trojans pulled off their "Packer" defense and opened up a little, actually creating about three scoring opportunities over the last few minutes of the half. One of the chances came off a corner kick that Krista Clancy, Northern's specialist at being the Defender of Last Resort, rejected by clearing it out of harm's way. Halftime score: Northern 2, Plainwell 0.
Plainwell kept up the pressure early in the second half and converted on a long kick off a reset just six minutes into the second half making it 2-1, and creating some Title Terror. Northern created multiple scoring opportunities after that, but not until the 20 minute mark did they finish the game scoring with Sidney Helmer finding Stinson in the middle, who weaved through a few defenders to meet the goalie face to face. After this score, Northern toughened up and kept control of the ball over the last ten minutes of action. Plainwell played a great game and didn't leave anything on the field; congrats to them for a great season.
Anna Stinson scores an insurance goal for the Huskies after getting behind the defense
As Northern celebrated their 20th win of the season and accepted their trophy and individual medals, a yell rang out of the crowd "IT'S A GREAT DAY TO BE A HUSKIE"! Yes it is, and we all hope Joyce McClish feels the love over the next few days and comes back on Tuesday with a BIGGER number.
Tuesday, 5pm, at Plainwell High School: regional semi-final vs. Holland Christian.
The Portage Northern Huskies started their district game with BC Lakeview closing in on the record for most corners in a row without scoring, set back in 1896 before nets were used. But just four corners and 15 minutes into the game, Anna Stinson ended the skein by striking the corner kick directly into the net near the far post, avoiding the use of any heads along the way. Soon after that goal, Lakeview's Rachel Burnham hit a point blank shot right into the stomach of goalie Jillian Karrick. The shot could have tied the score, but instead it became the one main opportunity for Lakeview in this game. Sam Pace tallied the Huskie's second unassisted goal of the half at the 17 minute mark by slicing through a few opponents in a series of nice moves. The halftime score stood at 2-0.
In between recaps of offensive scores and defensive gems lies an unsung hero in the middle of the field. Quietly going about her business, controlling the tempo with an occasional temper, dishing off passes after twisting up opponents with her fancy feet, and helping on D and O with equal passion yah, that's right, Cassie VanderSloot. She likes it that way, QUIET, and that's why we won't tell anyone about it!
The second half saw Northern find more successes on goal, even though Lakeview goalie Grace Labrecque made a half dozen diving or leaping saves. The Huskies passed the ball well all night, with everyone seeing action and contributing. Northern scored four times in the second half. Two minutes in saw a "Stinson to Pace and back to Stinson" goal. Then eight minutes later, after a series of excellent team passes, Stinson assisted on a Sammy Kay goal. Stinson assisted from a corner kick on the next goal, with Sidney Helmer trapping the kick and gunning in a goal. Northern's final goal came on a perfect cross from Natalie McClish to near the far post, where Krista Clancy headed the ball home to wrap up the 6-0 shutout victory.
Erika Jansen played an excellent all-around game, while Carolyn Hawkins had a shot sail just wide late in the game. JV players Melissa Trebing and Kallie Strazdas made some nice plays in their varsity debut. Game ball goes to Sidney Helmer, whose broken nose and recent concussion didn't stop her from working a header up off a corner kick creating cringes of oohs and ahhhs from the Northern faithful!
The Husky defense wrapped up its 12th shutout of the year, and Northern's winning streak climbed to 14 straight. Next up, for the district title, at BC Lakeview, vs. the Plainwell Trojans. They better bring some ice cream this time!
Question 1: How do you approach a game vs. a team you handled fairly easily during the regular season but only escaped with a 2-1 win? Answer: You have to forget the fairly easily part and think about the escaping part!
Question 2: As a spectator with a serious interest in Huskie soccer, is it tougher to watch a one goal victory during the regular season or during districts? Answer: That is a really stupid question!
Question 3: In Geometry, how many corners does it take to fill a rectangle? Answer: More than 15.
Gull Lakes Hangin Around Gang again made it extremely difficult to secure a victory. Although Northern created an inordinate number of opportunities, unlike recent games where scoring efficiency was realized, could not find the net for an insurance goal after scoring in the 21st minute. Northern could not capitalize on some open shots or on numerous corner kicks, although they worked hard and well to create all the opportunities. The only goal of the game came from a pass into the middle from defender Mary McCarthy, where Sammy Kay slightly redirected the ball (with the top of her head) to Anna Stinson, who thigh-trapped the ball and took a quick dribble before knocking home the game winner from 20 yards out.
But with the offense misfiring somewhat, Northerns defense knows how to flex its muscle and shut down the opposition. Northern controlled the action throughout the contest, giving up very occasional Gull Lake threats, until Gull Lake seemed to create constant pressure over the last 20 minutes. These 20 minutes felt like 20 days in the E.R., with rising blood pressures and plummeting oxygen levels; like running a 5-K while stationery; like having a districtotomy.
With about ten minutes remaining, Blue Devil Devon Bond got a hard shot off that goalie Jillian Karrick made a great leaping save on (excellent recovery!), and again with under a minute left in a one-on-one dual near the right side of the net, where Jill cut off the angle and caused an errant shot to basically seal the 1-0 shutout win.
McCarthy again defended Bond tightly, and it seemed that Andrea Jones and Megan Hayes were always there for either the double team or sealing off other Gull Lake forwards from many serious looks at the net. The rest of the team, including the midfield, hung tough enough to help the Huskies move to the next district battle, against and at Battle Creek Lakeview Thursday night at 6pm.
For an excellent write-up in the Gazette by a summer intern from the University of Syracuse who seems amazingly familiar with Portage Northern sports, click here. This is good reporting.
JV RECAP: Congrats to the JV players who were brought up for varsity state tournament action (Kalllie Strazdas, Melissa Trebing, Chelsea Smith).
Austin Melgar Day was celebrated at the Northern/Hackett game Friday night. It was another opportunity to celebrate the life of the younger brother of JV player Brianna Melgar, who passed away from a cancer known as neuroblastoma. Funds were raised for the foundation that hopes to find a cure someday. Besides the many people who gave support for the family and the foundation on this evening, we would really like to thank our friends from Hackett, who took up a collection and made a wonderful donation for the cause. Thanks to all who helped make this a great evening for a great family.
Nearly every team member contributed on this birthday bash Friday. The birthdays were spread among generations. Coach Andy Fuehr celebrated his with his 17th regular season victory; Andrea Jones celebrated her 17th birthday with another strong defensive performance; and Don Meyer celebrated his by filling the stat sheet with 17 goals, assists, yellow cards, and ejected fans.
Samantha Kay and Anna Stinson each fired up hat tricks, while Laura Glass and Sam Pace (unassisted) added one goal each. Those who assisted on these goals were Kay, Glass, Pace and Stinson, along with Andrea Jones, Krista Clancy and Natalie McClish. Hackett scored their goal with 17 minutes left in the game on a long free kick that was headed in by Julie Hamilton.
The Northern defense came close to their 11th shutout, but instead simply denied The Irish any major threats other than the header goal and one other excellent shot that goalie Jillian Karrick made a great save on. The Huskie defense will take a 0.65 goals allowed average into the state tournament.
The Huskies finish the regular season at 17-2-1, outscoring the opposition 86 to 13. The three nicks on the record came against two top ten D-1 schools and the top ranked D-2 school.
All statistics in these recaps are unofficial, and come to you via a hodge podge of little scratch pads and interviews with other more observant fans.
District play starts Tuesday night at Northern vs. Gull Lake. The Thursday and Saturday games of the district will then be at Battle Creek Lakeview for the team that keeps winning.
JV GAME SUMMARY: The JV's last game of the season took place on a nice Friday afternoon at home against the Hackett Irish. The first half had the two well matched teams playing a lot of back and forth, and the half ended with no score for either team. Twelve minutes into the second half, Hackett was awarded a direct kick on a penalty just outside the box, and managed to put it past several bodies and by keeper Sydney Block. Less than 10 minutes later the Irish put up another point. The Huskies had several good attempts at evening the match. Hope White made a nice one touch on a pass from Danielle Hirsch that was close. At one point Melissa Trebing brought the ball in close and the Hackett keeper made an excellent sliding save, but let the ball squirt away, where Ciara Pinho got off a shot that went over the net. With 6:25 left on the clock Kallie Strazdas booted a beautiful lob shot from the right corner of the field to the upper left corner of the net to put Northern on the board. This fired up the Huskies and they turned up the intensity. With less than a minute to play, someone (who was that, anyway?) crashed the goalie hard and she went down. In the ensuing scramble, Melissa got a foot on the ball and fired it into the upper right corner of the goal. Thirty-three seconds later the buzzer sounded with a tied score of 2-2. This ends the JV season with an even .500 record, with 8 wins, 8 losses, and 2 ties. Congratulations to the JV team: Stephanie Cooper, Kallie Strazdas, Melissa Trebing, Chelsea Smith, Mataya Lewis, Zoe Hatch, Jenna Long, Ruth Mejia, Julia Fletcher, Danielle Hirsch, Lauren Barlow, Kristen Launder, Tori Ryan, Kristen Seymour, Hannah Meyer, Brianna Melgar, Hope White, Sydney Block, Hillary Bloomfield, and Ciara Pinho. Thank you coach Pat Tetreault!
Jillian Karrick, Cassie VanderSloot, Krista Clancy, Megan Hayes, Samantha Kay, Mary McCarthy, Rachel Meyer, Erika Jansen, Sidney Helmer, Alicia Conde Lopez, Liz Bejcek, Samantha Pace, Anna Stinson, Natalie McClish, Laura Glass, Carolyn Hawkins, Andrea Jones, and Melissa Scafaria. Andy Fuehr, David Groves, Erin Carlson, and Justin Rhodes. This was a TEAM victory.
The Portage Central field was pristine and the sun and coolness made for perfect soccer. Central, ranked 4th in D-1, controlled the action for much of the first 25 minutes while Northern, ranked 6th in D-2, showed signs of mounting some pressure in the last 15 of the first half. It looked like PC would draw first blood when Paige Wester was taken down in the box for a penalty kick. It seemed like a clean tackle to every single Northern fan and a clear trip to every single Central fan. That is the beauty of sports It takes two to tango. Goalie Jillian Karrick spent ten seconds thinking about the thing that goalies think about, and then signaled to the ref she was ready. With a diving lunge to the left, she timed it perfectly and knocked the kick out for a most memorable save of a strong and well-placed shot (click here for photo taken by Bruce Bejcek). Jillian had a game full of great saves. But Central kept the pressure up and tallied just a few minutes later on a hard shot that found the back of the net. That settled the first half, with the Mustangs up 1-0.
Four minutes into the second half, the Mustangs scored again and when you have been on the low end of the scoreboard for five years in this rivalry well, the goal felt like a dagger. But with Central up 2-0, The Big Dawg awoke and The Huskie Heart started pumping faster. Off a corner kick that just got knocked around briefly in the goal area, Krista Clancy made a great move to get the ball out to Natalie McClish, who chose the right time to score her second goal of the year. Scoring is fun she said. Minutes later, Anna Stinson worked the ball along the sideline to near the corner, and let fly with a shot that curled into the far upper corner of the net. Suddenly we had a tie ballgame and it got much warmer in the stands. Then, with about four minutes left in the game, Stinson carried the ball into Mustang territory and sent a pass to Sam Kay, who caught the goalie coming out and snuck a roller past her slowly rolling toward the goal, and after five long years of waiting, it crossed the goal line. The Huskies fought off some Central surges down the stretch but held on for the 3-2 victory and the SMAC championship.
Some factors that helped out in the victory had to be the Kristen Kay Karma huddle, with parental prayers for Safe Sports for both teams and that each team play well and the game be fair, and a few other Northern musings. It could also be the team chant Hawk, Hawk, Hawk, the Carolyn Hawkins cheer to pump up the team. Most of all, it was Mary McCarthy, writing letters to all the coaches of the New York Giants, after Northern lost to PC one month ago. I was impressed how you beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl; you were big underdogs do you have any advice for us? All the coaches wrote her back, and one even called her to talk to her for 20 minutes. Mary passed the best pieces of the advice along to all the team before the game (click here for Gazette article about Mary's Giant advice).
The Huskies had their medal ceremony at Ritters, with each medal topped with whipped cream and a cherry!
And so goes another classic, hard fought, one-goal differential game in the Portage soccer arena. Good luck to the Mustang players in their quest to move through the D-1 tournament toward a state title.JV GAME SUMMARY: Northern traveled to Mustang territory to face off on the night of the SMAC conference finals. The Huskies fought hard today, and had a much better showing than the first time they took on PC. Northern kept the Mustangs scoreless until 21:14, when a crossed ball was popped in past keeper Sydney Block. Northern's defense was put to the test and did a commendable job. Brianna Melgar and Julia Fletcher saved the day numerous times. With 12 minutes half, and PC attacker shot a hard grounder over the line for their 2nd goal. The Huskies continued their defensive play in the second half and kept the score down until 22 minutes into play, when a Mustang managed to get to a loose ball in the box and find the net. Even though Northern fell to PC 3-0, they can be proud of the fantastic improvements they have made over the course of the season. Lookin' good Huskies! PS: AWESOME GAME, VARSITY!! THE JV IS PROUD OF YOU!!
|While this was truly a total team victory that EVERYONE contributed mightily to, goalkeeper Jillian Karrick earns the game ball by making nine big saves and snuffing out many other attacks despite a strong physical presence by the Mustangs. Great game Jillian and great game Huskies!|
To read Kalamazoo Gazette article, click here.
The Steel Curtain of the 70's. Da Bears of the mid-80's. The Ravens of the late 90's. The Huskies of 2008. The question of the greatest defenses ever rages on. The Secretaries of Defense fired their second consecutive one-shot-on goal game at an opponent, and like Nolan Ryan in his prime, recorded their fourth straight shutout.
Jillian Karrick, who is the only player in the area with two coaches all to herself, was in goal for her 10th shutout. The defense in front of her has been stupendous, and the entire unit contributes along the way. Erika Jansen had a series of three successive defensive gems during a one minute span of action in the second half. Cassie VanderSloot controlled the ball and rattled the opposition with her toughness throughout the contest. Andrea Jones played another game of solid defense to help in the shutout.
The offense started out sluggish, but pummeled the goal with many attempts in the latter part of the first half. The Sturgis goalie, who stopped 20 shots on goal against the Huskies a few weeks ago, again had a remarkable game with 16 saves, including some true gems. But the Huskies did break through twice in the half, with Anna Stinson scoring two goals; one coming on an assist from Mary McCarthy. Northern led 2-0 at the half after a 13-0 shots on goal advantage.
The Huskies wasted little time in the second half. Only 14 seconds elapsed before Stinson found the goal off a perfect cross from Sam Pace. Shortly after that Stinson tallied her fourth goal off a pass from Megan Hayes, who dropped a perfect lob over the defense. The Huskies were looking good all over the field, and even one of the Husky photographers got into the action by trapping an errant shot behind the net and one-timing it back to the 'keeper.
Northern scored twice more to complete the 6-0 shutout. Sidney Helmer scored off yet another assist from Sam Pace, and Cassie VanderSloot knocked in a header off a pinpoint corner from Laura Glass, who also hit a long free kick just off the crossbar. Glass had precision accuracy on passes and corners in this game.
Game Burger goes to the operators of Chez Huskie: Betty Trebing and Sharon Strazdas, for going way beyond the call of duty to organize the concessions and grill areas for the season. Hold up your hot chocolate and lets toast to the Chez Duo.
Northern commutes to Southern Portage Wednesday night for a slightly large game with Portage Central. A crowd of over 10,000 is expected, so come early.
JV GAME SUMMARY: For the second time this season, Northern took on Sturgis at home, and for the second time came out victorious. Two and a half minutes into the 1st half Kallie Strazdas crossed the ball to Melissa Trebing, who settled it and gave a quick relay to Ciara Pinho, who fired it past the Trojan goalie. Less than two minutes later, Julia Fletcher got the ball deep in Husky territory and popped it way back down field. Ciara put on the turbos to beat out a Sturgis defender and bury it in the net. Four minutes later Mel picked up a high arcing pass from Kallie, and smoothly put it past the keeper. Ciara was not finished yet. With 12 minutes left in the half she broke free of a couple defenders in front of the net and scored her third goal of the game. Can you say HAT TRICK?! Kristen Launder was working hard on defense and helped to keep Sturgis scoreless in the first half. Early in the second half a hard shot in the upper corner of the net ended Northern's bid for a shutout, but keeper Sydney Block made several sweet saves. Play continued back and forth with neither team giving in, until with just 38 seconds left on the clock Lauren Barlow fought off several Trojans, brought the ball to the far side of the net and made a hard shot from a wide angle, across the front of the goal and sunk it cleanly. The buzzer sounded with the Huskies winning this semi-final SMAC tournament game 5-1. The finals are Wednesday. Let's bring it on, ladies!
The Plainwell Trojans came to Portage without any Plainwell Ice Cream, and that made the Huskies mad. Plainwell did bring a 12-2 record and a tradition of toughness and talent, and that made the Huskies ready. It was the first time the teams have met since their overtime game in last year's regional.
The Huskies forced the action early, just missing on about four fairly open shots in the first ten minutes, including a header off the crossbar. But 16 minutes into the game, Sidney Helmer made a beautiful cross to Anna Stinson, who sent it into the goal for a 1-0 lead. Eight minutes later a Laura Glass corner kick somehow found its way to the middle of the pack, where Stinson one-timed it to the braided polyethylene for a 2 goal lead. Then, Sammy Kay, who worked her way to about three earlier shots that just missed, took a pass from Sam Pace and snuck a shot just inside the left post as the goalie tried to get back into position. The Huskies led 3-0 at the half.
Some fans noticed that Samantha Kay may have NOT smiled for a few seconds in the first half for the first time this season, but it turned out she had a piece of grass in her teeth and was trying to remove it with her tongue, creating a smirk-like look. Officially, her smile streak is still intact.
The second half saw Northern increase the pressure and Plainwell lose a little steam. The Huskies scored five more times to complete an 8-0 victory. Sam Kay put a superb pass into the middle where Sidney Helmer trapped the ball perfectly, turned and gunned for the score. Then Stinson finished off her hat trick by catching a bouncing ball from Rachel Meyer and blasting it into the net. Then a familiar connection: Sam Pace to Kay for the sixth goal. Alicia Conde-Lopez assisted Pace on the next score with a thread-the-needle pass.
Jillian Karrick then made a great save on Plainwell's only shot on goal of the night to preserve her shutout. Northern outshot the Trojans 13 to 1. The defense seemed to always be in position and totally squelched any offensive threats. The Huskies then finished the contest with a Mary Nothing McCarthy nifty pass to Rachel Meyer, who put on an even niftier move to get around a defender and then beat the Trojan goalie for the 8th and final goal.
Oh yes Mary "Nothing" McCarthy. You see, when Mary was 3 years old, she hated her middle name (Elizabeth), so she would tell people "my name is Mary Nothing McCarthy".
The Huskies go to 14-2-1. PN hosts a SMAC tournament game vs. Sturgis on Monday, and if victorious, will most likely travel across town to play Portage Central on Wednesday.
JV GAME SUMMARY: Finally! A sunny warm day for soccer. The Plainwell Trojans came to Husky town and met their match. The starting whistle sounded, Kallie Strazdas took the ball down field, crossed it in front to Hannah Meyer, who passed it back by the goalie, and Ciara Pinho finished it off for the 1st goal of the game with little more than 30 seconds off the clock. About ten minutes later Melissa Trebing picked up a nice cross from Ciara, and started her shooting onslaught. She fired across the net, hit the left post and it caromed in for the Huskies second goal. The Trojans were a scrappy team, and made the Huskies work for every shot. At one point, after an obstruction call, Plainwell was given a direct kick about 20 feet in front of the net. The Husky 'wall' was too much for them though, and they failed to score. About 22 minutes into the half Kallie made another sweet cross that started a scramble in front of the net, where Mataya connected with it and fired it to the back of the net. Northern's defenders were hard at work. Stephanie Cooper, Lauren Barlow and Julia Fletcher all helped keep the Trojans scoreless in the first half. Tori Ryan was solid at midfield, and Hillary Bloomfield played aggressively, connecting on a nice header to keep the ball in play. Early in the second half a Plainwell player blocked a hard shot--with her nose! Ouch, that hurts, but please don't get any blood on our NEW white shorts! The Huskies had their own nose injury when Jenna Long caught a spherical projectile object on the schnoz. Don't worry Jenna, it's still straight, and beautiful! As noted, Melissa Trebing was on a shooting tear today. Her second goal of the game came after she broke away from a Trojan defender, and shot it through the keeper's fingers. With about 13 minutes to go in the game, she made a beautiful chip shot over the goalies head to give the Huskies their fifth goal and herself a hat trick. Good game, Mel! Plainwell was not giving up, though, and late into the half a speedy Trojan got a breakaway and got the ball past Sydney for a score. Another couple minutes passed and the same fiesty Trojan got past our defenders and shot it hard into the net. The game wrapped with a score of 5-2, and another Husky win, to give the JV a current record of 7 wins, 7 losses, and 2 ties. That's a .500 season so far. If only the Tigers could claim such a feat!
Samantha Pace battles Plainwell standout Kayla Snyder for the ball in second half action Friday night
Taking a page from the New England Patriots' playbook, Andy uses the ball girls to phone in plays from the far side of the field
Anna Stinson puts one of her patented cutback moves on a Battle Creek Lakeview defender Wednesday night
A grill fire during the JV game got the Huskies smoking tonight. Northern burnt the net numerous times in this game, and Lakeview mustard felt like they were trying to ketchup all night. Lettuce all enjoy this excellent Huskie soccer, and relish the time we have to cheer these hard working young ladies. I'm just pickled pink to be able to bring you these high quality game recaps.
Northern attacked early, and about seven minutes in, Sam Pace took a hard shot that Lakeview goalie Nicole Bentz made a great save on. But just a few seconds later Pace took a pass from Anna Stinson and wasn't denied on the subsequent blast. Later in the first half Alicia Conde-Lopez played a beautiful flick pass to Stinson who buried the shot in the left corner of the net. Conde-Lopez also had a long shot that just missed the far post. The Huskies had tremendous ball movement throughout this game, creating numerous opportunities and wearing down the opposition. But even though Lakeview generated only one opportunity in the first half off a corner kick, they still made it to the half only down 0-2.
Minutes into the second half Stinson fed Megan Hayes near the Portage Post Office with Megan one-timing the long-range rocket just inside the cross bar. Moments later, it was the Sambination: Sam Pace with a perfect pass to Sam Kay, who used her speed to get into a one-on-one with the goalie and snuck it into the open net for a 4-0 Huskie lead. The final score came off a Laura Glass corner kick, which after a brief scrum in front of the goal, was muscled into the net by Sam Kay to complete the 5-0 victory. Carolyn Hawkins generated two excellent crosses and a couple of shots in her second half effort.
Jillian Karrick notched her 8th shutout of the season (and is only seven goals away from having seven other shutouts!). Shutouts come with a BIG assist from a very stingy defense. The Huskie "D" is allowing just 0.6 goals per game. Mary McCarthy, Andrea Jones, Megan Hayes, Laura Glass, Melissa Scafaria and Erika Jansen create The Wall. Jansen played her usual smart defense and contributed on the offensive end as well.
Cassie VanderSloot, Krista Clancy, Rachel Meyer, Sidney Helmer and Natalie McClish worked the midfield to contribute to the defensive effort and each contributed in a big way to the win tonight.
The Huskies take a 13-2-1 record into Friday's game with Plainwell, a rematch of last year's regional tournament OT game.
JV GAME SUMMARY: Is it EVER going to get warm here? Northern went up against Battle Creek Lakeview on a cold, gray Wednesday afternoon. The Huskies came out strong, though, and dominated play much of the game. The home team put pressure on the Spartan goalie immediately. Taking shots were Hope White, Lauren Barlow, Melissa Trebing and Mataya Lewis. Kallie Strazdas scored the first Husky goal about 10 minutes into the half. Sharp play continued and with 2 minutes left in the half Kallie scored her second goal of the game, with the assist going to Melissa. The half ended with not a single shot being taken at Husky keeper Sydney Block. Northern started the second half just as strong. Just 2 1/2 minutes in, Melissa sent a cross into the box to Ciara Pinho, who finessed it past the Lakeview keeper and into the net. Sydney had a little more work to do in the goal during the second half, when Lakeview was able to get off a few shots, but she handled all with no problems. The Huskies kept up their offense, and at one point Ruth Mejia got so fired up she tried to wrestle the Spartan goalie for the ball! Too bad the keeper was able to hold onto it. It looked as though the scoring was over, until with just 49 seconds left on the clock, Danielle Hirsch brought the ball down field and shot it through the keeper's fingers and into the net. The game ended in a 4-0 win for Northern. Lookin' good ladies.
PN came away with a 6-0 victory at Niles Monday evening, and await the results of other crossover games to find out who their first-round SMAC Tournament opponent will be Wednesday. In the first half, the Huskies controlled play, but could not find the back of the net, and the halftime score was 0-0. In the second half, it looked like the girls picked up the pace of play, made quicker decisions, and were more determined to finish, as they scored six times in succession. Samantha Pace and Samantha Kay each scored twice, with Cassie VanderSloot and Alicia Conde-Lopez also scoring. There were six assists with Conde-Lopez contribuing two, and Krista Clancy, Sidney Helmer, Rachel Meyer, and Mary McCarthy also assisting. Jillian Karrick and the defense notched yet another shutout.
JV GAME SUMMARY: The Huskies took a long road trip to Niles to take on the Vikings on their home turf. Northern played well, and kept the ball in the Viking's end a good share of the game. Hope White was really on her game today. She took a long, arcing shot, just for practice, I guess, and then at 12 and a half minutes into the game got off her "real" shot to score Northern's first goal. The assist went to Danielle Hirsch. A host of Huskies took their chance at the Viking goalie, including Lauren Barlow, Mataya Lewis and Kallie Strazdas. With four minutes left in the 1st half Mataya capitalized on a rebound off the keeper, to give the orange their second goal. Niles did threaten a time or two, and in one scramble in front of the Husky net it looked as though they may get one, but Northern keeper Sydney Block , with some help from her defense, was able to get to a rebound and protect her net. Whew! The half ended with Northern two goals ahead. The Huskies played the second half with a lot of energy. Several players got in on the shooting action. Hope White started the assault with a grounder the keeper was just able to snag, and Mataya fired a rocket just wide of the net. Niles fought back, and booted a "dump and run" into Husky territory, which they caught up with and were able to slip past keeper Sydney Block to close the Huskies lead to just one. Not for long though. Back in the Viking's end, Melissa Trebing placed a perfect corner kick smack in front of the goal, where Kallie Strazdas put her new "full 90" helmet to use, and made a beautiful header shot over the keeper to give the Huskies their third goal of the game. I must say, the Niles keeper did her job pretty well, saving shots from Melissa, Ruth Mejia, and Zoe Hatch. She couldn't however, make the save on Ciara Pinho's shot. After receiving a pass from Lauren Barlow, Ciara tore off down field in a breakaway and chipped the ball over the keeper's outstretched arms. This recorded Northern's final goal of the game, to give the Huskies the win with a score of 4-1. Good job girls!
Friday, May 9th, those recent PN Lady Huskie soccer alumni players who are still in shape (well, enough to make some runs) came back for the Husky Alumni Game. The alumni team included some soon-to-be alumni (the four current Husky seniors) along with a sibling of a current alumni player. Several JV players made up for the loss of these five varsity players.
Coach Andy Fuehr, who made some questionable substitutions and formations to defend against an Alumni unit, that according to him "needed more conditioning so that we could actually complete two 30-minute halves". "It was World Cup intensity out there tonight", commented the Coach, who drew a yellow card after the game for taking TWO grilled cheeseburgers.
Kaitlyn Doud (UofM) broke the scoreless tie midway through the cardiovascularly-shortened second half, while fending off a defender and still hitting a great shot to the far post. "Amazing!" she said. "The only goal in my Northern career", as she choked back tears. Marietta McCarthy, an unknown player from the past, scored the other goal for the Alumni with 30 seconds left in the game.
Anna Caplis (UofM) assisted on the second goal. She showed she still looks like a harmless little sweety, but reminded us of her toughness by shoving Natalie McClish to the ground.
Sarah Meyer (MSU) dominated the mid-field, and still pulled off a few step-over moves without any serious injury. "I enjoyed playing with (schooling) my sister" she said.
Brook Sommers (MSU) enjoyed "just getting back on the field", and like the other alumni, she showed she still has some good moves.
Molly Brooks (MSU) recorded the shutout for the Alumni team. When asked how she felt about the shutout, she talked of resurrecting her scrapbook "just another shutout standard; the norm"!
Sarah Bouali (KVCC) looked faster and tougher than ever but her self-analysis was not as promising. "I sucked!"
Sarah Schostarez (Wooster College soccer player) still seemed in top playing shape as she controlled the midfield even though she confessed "I feel old".
Man in the Booth Tom Weissert summed up Husky Pride after the Alumni Game: "I was just happy not to see any aluminum walker devices or alumni buffed up from doing hard time".
Northern traveled to Gull Lake, who apparently just voted down a millage request for a new lawn mower for the soccer field. Gull Lake was sporting an impressive win-loss record coming into the game, and always brings tough competition to the annual contests with the Huskies.
Northern got on the board two times in the first half in almost identical fashion. Megan Hayes, who seemed to be in the right place at the right time all night on defense, found time to dish up a couple of long assists. Samantha Kay was at the receiving end of both assists. The first (15 minutes into the game) was from just left of the net, when she was drilled by a defensive player but still managed to get a solid foot on the ball and rip it into and then off of the goalie and into the net. The next was a longer run, all the while giving the defender a piggy back ride for about 40 yards before once again getting enough juice on the ball to blast it by the goalie (see photo sequence below).
Northern seemed to dominate the action in the first half and into the second. But a dozen shots slithered around and over the goal. Devon Bond, Gull Lake's big threat, finally broke loose and scored with about 20 minutes remaining. Mary McCarthy, always defending the opponent's main threat, did a great job containing Bond the entire game. The goal made the last 20 minutes very interesting, but the Huskies held on for the 2-1 win.
Northern had a couple players injured and defender Andrea Jones came out with a bum knee early in the game. Some players played for many more minutes than usual and stepped up big to preserve the awesome team victory.
Game ball goes to Jeff Jones, who wore shorts without shaking while others donned their winter coats.
Samantha Kay's off-balance shot under close pressure was the winning goal
click on each image to see full width and size
JV GAME SUMMARY: Northern traveled to Gull Lake to take on the Blue Devils on a chilly Thursday afternoon. The Devils, however, were HOT! It was all Gull Lake in the first half, as they scored the first of four goals just a minute and a half into play time, and then following that about 5 minutes later with their second goal. Ten minutes after that they got a shot up high over Northern Keeper Sydney Block's head and into the upper corner to add to their total. Their last goal came off a chip shot from the middle of the box. At this point the Huskies finally said, "Hey, I think we better pick it up a bit!" They turned up the intensity late into the half, and then came out in the second half like a different, and much more spirited team. What did you say to them at half time, Pat? Whatever it was, it worked! From the start of the second half, they played hard, and threatened to score immediately. Just 3 minutes into the half the Huskies got on the board when Danielle Hirsch converted on a relay from Lauren Barlow, who had collected a pass from Kallie Strazdas. Good teamwork ladies! It was also great to see Brianna Melgar doing a great job out there. She had a sweet free kick that just missed, and then another one that was beautiful, but sailed just over the net. Keep shooting, Bri. Brianna, along with Stephanie Cooper, Jenna Long, and Julia Fletcher dominated on defense to keep the Blue Devils off the scoreboard completely in the second half. Though this "second half" Huskie team really came out to play,and gave it their all for the full 35 minutes, they were unable to overcome the deficit, and unfortunately fell to a strong Gull Lake team with a score of 4-1.
When the Big Red come to town, the fans order their burgers a little more rare because this ain't gonna be a game for wimps. East Kentwood may be a little younger than a few of their state-ranked teams of late, but they brought talent and ferocity that Northern had to rise up to. Ten minutes into the game, EK sent a message with a long 65 foot, 8 inch blast off a free kick that found a ball size space above the arms of goalie Jillian Karrick and just kissing the crossbar. This did not sit well with the Jillster, and she protected the goal like a lion protecting its young the rest of the game. EK's lead did not last long.
One minute later Anna Stinson picked up a ball delivered by Sam Pace near the top of the box and sent in a bullet that ricocheted (thank you Spellchecker) off a defender and into the net to tie the game. The game from that point until halftime was very even, very physical and back and forth.
Halftime again found Marian Hawkins trying desperately to sell Wenke Bucks, even offering specials like "Buy a ten dollar certificate for ten bucks and get the second ten dollar certificate for only ten bucks more". Thanks to all of our volunteers for making the program blossom.
The second half action gave Husky fans a serious treat perhaps the best half of soccer this year. The Huskies controlled the action throughout the half. Sam "Stay out of My Face, I'll put You in Your Place, Do you really want to Race, You want to see my Trophy Case" Pace played her usual ALL-OUT game to the joy of the fans. Natalie McClish worked the corner late in the game creating numerous exciting moments, and if Larry and Joyce had taught her not to be so considerate and unselfish, she could have scored many goals! Northern attacked the net with multiple opportunities, and ended up connecting on two to complete the 3-1 victory. Rachel Meyer found Stinson alone near the top of the box for the game winner. The third goal came shortly after when Laura Glass dribbled (yes, she is the point guard in basketball also) along the sideline, did a stutter-step, freeze the defender, see ya later, and from the corner put a long GPS-guided cross to the very tip of Stinson's toe destination net.
The defense gave up just one goal for the 6th time this season, to go along with six shutouts. The only multiple goal game (3) has come at the hands of FH Northern, perhaps the state's best. Andrea Jones played strong at that end, and her combination of speed and size again was a deterrent for opposing forwards to close in on the goal. Cassie "You think I'm Small, You have another Thing Coming" VanderSloot also put together defensive maneuvers that have become a consistent force on the defensive end.
Northern moves to 10-2-1 on the year, and will travel to Gull Lake (away) on Thursday to Bond with another tough opponent with a similar record.
JV GAME SUMMARY: Hmmm. This was a bit of a frustrating game. As coach Pat said, "We should have won it." Still, there was some good action out there. Both teams were kept scoreless in the first half, with Northern players Mataya Lewis, Kallie Strazdas, and Melissa Trebing all having a go at it, but the Falcon goalie made some nice saves. Northern goalie Sydney Block made a couple good stops herself. Defenders Lauren Barlow and Samantha Cooper played tough all day long, and Hillary Bloomfield showed some great hustle at forward. In the second half Sydney made a gorgeous tip up off her finger tips to send a Falcon shot safely over the net. The Huskies battled, and had some loose ball scrambles in front of the E. Kentwood goal, but were unable to finish it off. With 15 minutes to go on the clock East Kentwood did capitalize on a ball bouncing around in front of the Northern goal to put the first score on the board. Just 2 minutes later a Falcon forward sent a long lob ball high into the upper corner for their second goal. Three minutes after that, an aggressive Ciara Pinho answered back for the Huskies when she picked off a cross from Kallie Strazdas and sent it to the back of the net. Northern fought hard till the end, but unfortunately fell to the Falcons by a score of 2-1. This was our second game in as many days, and whether or not we didn't have as much energy as we might have, I know we'll pick it up next time! Go Huskies!
It was senior night Monday night at the Husky soccer complex. And we're not talking about Tom, Al and Tim. We're talking about Alicia Conde Lopez, forward and foreign exchange student. She will be heading back to Spain for a final year of high school. We're talking about Liz Bejcek, also a forward and Purdue bound. We're talking Carolyn Hawkins, another forward who is heading toward the Illinois Institute of Art. Finally, Mary McCarthy, who will head down I-94 to UofM. The three 4-year Northern seniors all are "highest honor" students. Good luck seniors, and THANK YOU!
On the most beautiful of soccer evenings, the Huskies hosted Sturgis in an East Crossover matchup. In the crowd on this night was Jeff Crystal, celebrating his 54th birthday the same way everyone wants to celebrate their birthday watching Huskie soccer. Northern started quickly with Sam Kay taking the opening tip and racing off to a shot on goal in the first ten seconds. It took the Huskies five minutes to find the back of the net though with Anna Stinson crossing the ball into Krista Clancy, who finished just like she has many times this season. Then five minutes later Samantha Kay placed a perfect through-ball that Stinson caught up to and sneaked past the Sturgis goalie for a 2-0 lead. Stinson then scooped up a loose ball at about the 18 and placed the ball just over the keeper's head for a 3-0 lead at the half.
Halftime saw the ball-girls (spherical projectile retrieval specialists) race to Chez Husky for their free drink and candy, and Marian Hawkins hawkin Wenke Bucks to the obviously non-gardening crowd. Carolyn Hawkins played a nice second half, but at one point mixed it up rather roughly with an opponent. One would think Carolyn would never be mean to anyone, but Marian reminds us of when Carolyn was just two years old and being rather naughty at the table during a holiday meal with about 20 other people. Father Jeff said sternly, "Carolyn, do you need to be removed from this table?" Carolyn replied, "NO JEFF, I think YOU need to be removed from the table"!
The 3-0 halftime score held for 15 minutes into the second half, when Stinson scored twice in a few minutes, both unassisted, with one coming on a 35-yard ball from the sideline that found the far side of the net. Stinson's four goals represented a Sombrero-Trick (on Cinco de Mayo). Kay then scored off an assist by Sidney Helmer, who had numerous crosses and forced corners. Sam Pace scored the final goal unassisted by blowing between two defenders and then beating the goalie. The Sturgis goalie had many great saves, but the 20 to 3 Husky shots on goal advantage were just too much to handle. The final score was 7-0.
Jillian Karrick worked the shutout in goal, with the defense squelching any serious penetration by Sturgis. Megan Hayes played tough in D, and did a lot of those foot-things that she does that would tie most mortals into knots. Melissa Scafaria played well at the defensive end as well in helping the defensive cause, along with the usual Guards of the Goal.
JV GAME SUMMARY: Wow--another beautiful day for soccer when Northern hosted The Sturgis Trojans in the SMAC east crossover game. The JV Huskies dominated play for most of the game, with several different players contributing. In the 1st half Ruth Mejia, Ciara Pinho, and Kallie Strazdas all got shots off to put the Strugis goalie to the test. About 10 minutes into play Lauren Barlow made an unassisted goal, and followed that about 5 minutes later with an assist to Mataya Lewis who fired it past the keeper to put the Huskies second point on the board. Less than three minutes later Melissa Trebing made good on a breakaway to increase the score to 3-0. Julia Fletcher and Stephanie Cooper helped keep it out of the Huskie end with some terrific defensive play. In the second half the Trojan keeper made at least 9 saves on shots from Danielle Hirsch, Kallie, Lauren, Ciara, Mataya and Ruth, who crashed the goalie so hard her shoe flew off! Danielle scored Northern's lone goal of the half. Jenna Long, Tori Ryan and Kristen Seymour all did a great job on defense. The Trojans picked up their play late in the second half, becoming much more aggressive. With only 4:22 left in the game they were able to get one past Huskie goalie Sydney Block, but it was too little, too late for them, and the game ended with a 4 to 1 win for Northern. Nice game girls!
The Huskies showed some diversity Friday evening with six different girls scoring in a 7-1 victory over the Vicksburg Bulldogs. Goals were tallied by Anna Stinson who had two, Samantha Kay, Sidney Helmer, Rachel Meyer, Krista Clancy, and Megan Hayes. Assists were notched by Kay, Stinson, and Mary McCarthy twice. The players met coach Andy Fuehr's challenge to convert on corner kick opportunities by scoring three times on corner kicks (two from McCarthy and one from Stinson with Kay, Helmer, and Stinson the finishers), with several other near misses. Way to be more aggressive Huskies!
JV GAME SUMMARY: The JV Huskies faced off against the Bulldogs of Vicksburg on a windy, windy afternoon at the Northern field. It looked as though the home team was going to dominate, but the Bulldogs got aggressive and were able get the ball past a diving Sydney Block, and put it in for the first goal of the game. The Huskies fought back and threatened several times. Melissa Trebing fired a shot just wide, and Ciara Pinho put just a little too much mustard on a couple of shots that sailed with the wind over top of the net. The first half ended with Northern trailing 1-0. The second half had the Huskies going against the wind, but it didn't seem to hinder them. Lauren Barlow was fired up! She made at least two great runs, taking the ball past several Vicksburg defenders all the way down the field and ripping off a shot that crossed just wide of the goal. Kallie Strazdas hustled her tail off the whole game, making numerous nice crosses. With about six minutes remaining in the game, she placed a crossed ball in front of the net, where Daniell Hirsch was waiting to finish it, to put one on the board for Northern. These two teams were pretty evenly matched, although Northern did out shoot Vicksburg by about a two to one ratio. The final score, however, didn't reflect this. Oh well, that's soccer for you! Keep playing tough Huskies!
Of course everyone wants to win. Sometimes most of us get caught up at some point in feeling like we deserve to win; we HAVE to win. But what most players really want is to simply play soccer, have fun with their team, go to team dinners, and enjoy competition. Parents mostly just want to see their kids have fun, be involved, get exercise, and well, just be healthy.
A lot of times we take our health for granted. Today Portage put to rest a young boy who loved the game of soccer, but whose health got in the way of scoring goals. Seven year old Austin Melgar scored in a big way though, with a big heart and fight that the Huskie soccer community will not forget. Many of our players had Austin's name written on their tape tonight. A full church at St. Catherine's parish witnessed a celebration of Austin's life at a most beautiful mass. Score one for Hope, Faith and Love goal by Austin Melgar!
Oh yes, the game. Four local 7- and 8-year old club and AYSO teams brought their game faces to the Northern Soccer Complex and played for 15 minutes between the JV and Varsity games. To the winners went the spoils any concession item for a buck or less. To the losers the same thing of course. The youngsters lined up for the National Anthem with the Big Girls, and then ran over to the fans with the Varsity, loving every step of the way. Witnesses spotted a minimum of four future Huskie All-Staters amongst the Littles.
The varsity game started out in the first minute when freshman Sam Kay burst between two defenders at the 18 leaving her to only beat the goalie. But a defender grabbed the back of her shirt and it stretched out so far the ref thought "no shirt can stretch that far, so I must be seeing things". Sam sprang backward in a freak act of nature and the score remained zero-zero. Although Northern dominated the half, with nine first half corner kicks and about a similar amount of other scoring chances, the game remained scoreless at the half. Norrix had one great opportunity to take the lead with one minute left in the half on a breakaway, but the Knight shot just wide and a huge sigh rang through the grill smoke.
Finally, five minutes into the second half Cassie VanderSloot stroked a soft nine iron just over the goalie's head for the first score of the game. A short time later Erika Jansen came off the bench and said "Here ladies, let me show you how to finish off a corner kick" and did just that, giving the Huskies a 2-0 lead. Both goals were assisted by Mary "Don't Mess With Me Because I Have a Black Belt in Karate" McCarthy.
Norrix, who came into the game 5-1-2, dodged a ton of bullets, and fought to stick around long enough to make the game extremely close at the end. They scored on their own lob shot with just over two minutes left, then got a free kick from near the corner with 30 seconds left and a golden opportunity to shock the Huskies with late game heroics, but Northern held on for the win.
Andrea Jones did a great job on being aggressive on defense and fighting for corner kicks. Freshman Laura Glass controlled the defensive midfield and distributed the ball with accuracy all night. Natalie McClish and Sidney Helmer both beat defenders multiple times and fired up perfect crosses that just weren't finished. Megan Hayes ran down any defender even thinking about breaking free. Sam Pace, who coaches one of the young teams that played earlier in the evening, played with serious authority on this night, winning most balls in her vicinity. She looked like Rocky after the game with her young girls' team members running behind her all over the field. Way to go, Sammy.
JV GAME SUMMARY: The JV finally had their first regular season home game when they faced the Loy Norrix Knights on a beautiful afternoon for soccer. The Huskies dominated play in the first half, with Melissa Trebing, Mataya Lewis, Danielle Hirsch, Hannah Meyer, Hope White and Ciara Pinho all taking shots on goal. With about 10 minutes remaining in the half, Ciara scored after picking up a nice cross from Melissa. Defender Julia Fletcher was on her game today, several times sending the ball up to her teammates in the Knights' end of the field. It was more of the same aggressive play by the Huskies in the second half. The girls again took several shots and worked hard on defense. Ruth Mejia scored on a cross from Kallie Strazdas to put Northern ahead 2-0. A bit later, Kallie kicked a long shot from outside the right side of the box. It hit the left post and caromed into the net to give the Huskies another goal. Northern ended the game with a 3-0 win, with Sydney Block getting the shutout. Way to go ladies!
Home on Friday vs. Vicksburg. Good Job Huskies!April 30th was Youth Soccer Night. During their scrimmages, the girls showed us some good skill! Fans are happy that the future of soccer in Portage looks good!
On a night when the stands were filled with Umbrella-Envy, Portage Northern hosted (another word for Home Game) Battle Creek Central. The game was originally scheduled for Battle Creek, but oh, never mind.
The Bearcats brought a very young and inexperienced team to Portage, and although the Battle Creek school does not have a history of strength in their soccer program, they had the heart to play tough to the end in the cold rain. Their goalie had 20 saves, at least half of which were excellent, especially considering the conditions. This helped BC stretch the game, an 8-0 PN victory, into the second half. The game was stopped after 50 minutes of action.
The Huskies spent the majority of the contest on the offensive end, working in a variety of shots. Sam Pace put together her second hat trick of the year. Her first goal came off an assist by Rachel Meyer to start the scoring. She added an unassisted goal later in the first half and ended the shortened contest with a second half goal, again unassisted, ten minutes after halftime.
¿Alicia Conde Lopez rayó un objetivo que hizo el marcador va de cuatro a nueve; podría ser esto alguna clase de rayar de tasa de cambio entre el dólar y el euro?
(Alicia Conde Lopez scored a goal that made the scoreboard go from four to nine; could this be some kind of exchange rate scoring between the dollar and the Euro?) assist by Sidney Helmer.
Sam Kay added two goals in the contest, in the first half unassisted and early in the second half off another assist from Meyer. Sammy then had to witness her parents doing a special victory dance after the game, and she may have to miss a couple games to get over the trauma.
The other two tallies included Krista Clancy finding the net off a perfect corner kick by Mary McCarthy, and Laura Glass starting the second half scoring by finishing off a Sam Pace pass.
Northern continues it home game parade Wednesday against a tough Loy Norrix team and on Friday in a rematch with Vicksburg.
Florence Joyner. Marion Jones. Claire Stachel. Yah, but lets see Flo Jo and Ma Jo run that fast while dribbling a soccer ball! Dream Teamer Claire "Are you ever going to graduate" Stachel got free and scored for FHC fifty seconds into Northern's game with the Rangers Friday night. Central fans kicked back with their popcorn and thought at this rate, we will win 80-0.
But 15 minutes later, with the same score, Anna Stinson hit the crossbar with a long blast after the goalie just got a hand on the ball, and the defense settled in and late in the half it was still just 1-0. It felt like a good break was all the Huskies needed to maybe take the defending state champs down to the wire. A few minutes before the half, however, U of M bound Stachel just got through a couple of defenders and staked the Rangers to a 2-0 lead at the break.
On this night, the Huskies had their own studly Dream Teamer (as voted on by a panel of abused offensive opponents) in Mary McCarthy. Mary had the task of marking Stachel and helped keep the Huskies within striking distance by not allowing her to free up enough to get any second half tallies. The entire defense played well again, and although bending occasionally, stopped the Rangers many times from getting off good shots. When they did, goal keeper Jillian Karrick made numerous nice saves in the second half (ending with 11 saves).
Just as they did against Portage Central earlier in the week, the Huskies controlled the action markedly over a ten minute span in the middle of the second half. A couple of corner kicks, and a couple of shots just missed the mark. One of the chances came on a Laura Glass serve off a reset that Cassie VanderSloot redirected in midair but directly to the goalie. Glass also had the third shot on goal for the Huskies, who were out shot 14 to 3. FHC also dominated in one other category, committing 16 fouls to Northern's 2 don't we get a couple of free throws or something?
FHC scored a third goal with about 18 minutes remaining on a long screwball against the wind, which put the dagger in the momentum that the Huskies seemed to be mounting. The players may have been disappointed to lose 3-0, but they played against the best in Michigan and were just a few breaks from playing right with the best.
JV GAME SUMMARY: Let's see...the bus got lost on the way to the field, the wind was blowing so hard they had to delay the start of the game to scrounge up some weights to hold the net down, and there were no seats for the fans! On the plus side, Forest Hills Central's practice field, where the JV played, was a really nice turf field and the view overlooking the valley was beautiful. Oh yeah, the soccer game. The JV Huskies fought mightily the whole game and never gave up scrapping. Keeper Sydney Block made at least 14 good saves. The girls all worked hard, but unfortunately fell to the Rangers 0-7. Better luck next time Huskies!
Northern finishes its streak of four Central opponents in eight days when Battle Creek Central comes to town Monday. Dress warm, and cheer for the Huskies!
In the latest version of the Season of the Away Home Game, the Huskies game vs. the Maroon Giants was moved to Kalamazoo Central due to the Portage Northern soccer field being in too good of shape for a high school game. The move did not stop two distinguished Northern alums, Sam Kowalisyn and Carolyn Brown, from making the trek from UofM to witness the Husky victory.
Northern scored quickly at the 4 minute mark with an Anna Stinson cross that Krista Clancy finished nicely. Northern scored twice more before the half with Stinson connecting on both on assists from Alicia Conde Lopez and Erika Jansen.
Halftime highlights included Greg Karrick purchasing his first junk food of 2008.
Northern's defense was coming off an awesome effort of nearly shutting out a powerful Portage Central offense two days prior, and tonight endured less pressure but still recorded their fourth shutout in seven games this season (they gave up only one goal in each of the other three games). The defense is rocking!
The first three minutes of the second half saw Stinson net two more goals, one unassisted and the other off a feed from Samantha Kay, to complete her hat trick with one of those fuzzy things on top. Northern soon netted three more goals to end the game about twenty minutes early. Sam Kay scored off a feed from Clancy, and Natalie McClish netted a goal on a pass from Sidney Helmer. Erika Jansen finished the scoring by redirecting a perfect corner kick off the foot of Laura Glass. Kalamazoo Central worked hard the entire contest, but just could not match up with the Huskies on this night. Good luck to KC the rest of the year.
Northern takes on the best high school girls' team in the Northern Hemisphere this Friday night at Forest Hills Central. Then, two HOME games next Monday and Wednesday, and those will be at HOME!
JV GAME SUMMARY: This game with Kalamazoo Central was sure a lot more fun for us Huskies than the last contest was! The JV squad dominated for the entire game, to finish with a 6-0 win over the Maroon Giants. A good many of the Husky players got in on the action on a beautiful, warm, sunny afternoon at the Kalamazoo field. (Hey, didn't we play THERE last year? Oh well!) Ciara Pinho, Danielle Hirsch, Lauren Barlow, Ruth Mejia, Mataya Lewis, Chelsea Smith, Melissa Trebing and Kallie Strazdas all had shots on goal. Ciara put up the first point in the first half when she finished on a cross from Kallie. Melissa made it 2-0 a little later, when she scored on a penalty kick after a Giant handball in the box. A bit later, Kallie hit the cross bar (for the first time of many!) and Melissa picked it up on the rebound and put it in the net, to end the half at three to nothing. During the second half several Huskies showed their spunk! Stephanie Cooper showed the fans what a physical player she can be. Kristen Seymore was aggressive down the field, and Hope White hustled and really looked good out there. The scoring continued for Northern in the second half. Daniell Hirsch gave an assist to Mataya to increase the lead, and Hope helped out on yet another goal for Melissa. Mel ended her scoring blitz by racking up a "Texas hat trick" as Larry McClish called it, after scoring a career high four goals in one game!! Way to go Mo! Sydney Block minded the nets in the first half and Chelsea Smith took over keeper duties for the second half. They didn't see much action, and shared in the shutout of the Giants. Way to go Huskies! Hopefully we can continue our winning ways when we take on Forest Hills Central on their home turf this Friday.
JV Game Photos have been added thanks to Betty Trebing (click here).
Portage Central paid a lot of money for their new scoreboard, but it seems the Visitor score is stuck on zero. I am sure they will have it fixed the next time Northern visits.
On a beautiful night for soccer, Northern played Central even except for one small lapse with about seven minutes left in the first half. A long corner kick was gathered up near the opposite corner and lofted into the middle where Paige Wester headed the ball home. The Huskies carried the play late in the half but could not get off any quality shots and trailed 0-1.
Northern played well in the second half, especially over a ten minute span in the middle of the half. The action was strong near the Mustang goal, with multiple wide shots and one ball off the crossbar, which was then headed just over the goal. Ten minutes later however, as the horn sounded (at least something works on that scoreboard), the all too familiar one-goal differential in this rivalry stared the Husky program in the gut. But taking a top ten D-1 team to the limit ain't mashed potatoes my friends. It's just one step closer to the steak and lobster this team aims to enjoy the rest of the season.
Congrats to Portage Central and Portage Northern for putting on a soccer classic.
The JV Huskies put up a courageous fight against a very strong Mustang team. Chelsea Smith defended the net in the first half and made about thousand (seems like) saves. Four shots were able to get past her. She had a lot of help from some very feisty players. Jenna Long and Lauren Barlow kept the defense strong, while Mataya Lewis and Hope White gave it their all and never gave up. Melissa Trebing was tireless in her pursuit of the ball. Sydney Block was keeper in the second half. She too was successful in blocking many, many shots. Three goals sneaked by, but the scrappy Huskies kept the Mustangs from scoring any more. Kallie Strazdas made a sweet header to knock the ball out of the box to deny any shots off a Central corner kick. Ruth Mejia got off a shot for us, after hustling like crazy throughout the match. The whole team played with a lot of heart and never stopped trying for the entire game. However, it was a tough 7-0 loss to take against our arch rivals. Better luck next time, ladies!
With this writer needing Advil just to compete in three games of ping pong, it is amazing to watch a soccer triple header. Each school involved played three one-hour games against some of the better MI high school soccer teams in the state, with Okemos, Traverse City Central and Traverse City West traveling here to play round-robin games with PN, PC and KC. Even though still early season, you could see the amount of training that went on in the preseason by effort still in force near the end of Game 3. The players may not have noticed, but the fans had to put up with a variety of weather patterns, and most fans arrived looking like they were going camping, with jackets, umbrellas, sun tan lotion, seat cushions, and Dave McCarthy with his Wall Street Journal.
A good recap of all three games would start with recognizing a defensive unit that gave up just one goal in the three games combined. Jillian Karrick recorded two shutouts in one day and especially in game two where she made three excellent saves to secure a one goal victory. The rest of the defensive unit that stymied opponents during the soccer marathon was Mary McCarthy, Andrea Jones, Megan Hayes, Laura Glass, Melissa Scafaria, Cassie VanderSloot, and Erika Jansen.
Okemos: Game one saw Okemos get only three shots on goal and the Huskies just two. Okemos scored with nine minutes left in the game when they quickly broke away from a Husky restart near the corner. So what felt like a Northern opportunity turned out otherwise. The goal woke up the Dawg and less than a minute later Sam Pace took a pass from Anna Stinson and looked ready to take a shot while fending off a defender and the goalie, but instead flicked a short pass across the goal front to a wide open Krista Clancy, who said "Thank You" and ripped home the tying goal. Northern took its second and final shot on goal with just five seconds left with Sidney Helmer taking a pass 15 yards in front of the goal and striking a shot that the goalie had to make a very good save on to preserve the tie at 1-1.
TC Central: A four hour bus ride did not squelch the physicality of this team. The game turned into another defensive affair until midway through the 2nd half, when Sam Pace quickly took a throw in on the offensive end hitting Stinson in stride, who scrummed through two defenders and flicked a quick shot just between the near post and the goalie. The goal held up for a 1-0 Husky win.
TC West: A kindler and gentler West team, although still a very worthy soccer team, succumbed to a very long day of travel and soccer to a Northern team that seemed to still have energy. Northern won 2-0, with the first score coming in the first half on a goal for Sam Pace, who took a "through-ball" pass from Stinson and scored from the right side. Then in the second half Stinson took a cross pass from Rachel Meyer out of the air and hit an ugly (translated to "beautiful" on the scoreboard) knuckle curve into the net.
Northern's record grows to 4-0-1. Monday the Huskies play at PC at 5:00 JV and 6:45 Varsity to see who gets to capture the Giant Celery Stick for another year. Come on out and support the Huskies!
Portage Northern was finally able to play its second game of the season; after weather issues, spring break, and getting taxes filed, it was time to hit the pitch once again ("pitch" is actually a soccer term for those of you thinking you are at the wrong website). On a very blustery day that saw Rachel Meyer turn 17 and Carolyn Hawkins beat out defending champion Krista Clancy in the spring break tanning competition, Northern worked up numerous opportunities in the first half with the wind at their backs.
Northern mustered four shots on goal in the first half, but only one found the mark. Cassie VanderSloot gathered a loose ball in what seemed like out in the parking lot and sent it screaming over the heads of most of the players on the field to put PN up 1-0. Northern carried most of the action in the first half, but the Wildcats defense was tough around the net. One golden Mattawan opportunity was snuffed out on a great defensive play by Megan Hayes. Northern's defense played very tough all night, and was able to shorten the field by pushing up the play toward the offensive end.
With the teams switching sides at the half, a 1-0 lead with the wind now in our faces felt like Northern should have maybe put up a few more scores in the first half. But the wind died down and the Huskies perked up and found the net three more times in the second half on eight shots on goal. Anna Stinson scored eight minutes in on an unassisted goal. A few minutes later Sam Pace hit the crossbar, but Sammy Kay knocked home the rebound. Mattawan then got on the board with a lob shot just over the outstretched arms of Northern's goalie, but Northern quickly countered with Krista Clancy scoring off a pass from Stinson.
Northern takes a 2-0 record into this weekend's Portage Invitational three game set. Then Monday an early season matchup at Portage Central to get the season into high gear.
In the early game, the sun was shining, but not on the JV Huskies this windy day. In the first half, the JV looked like they were still getting used playing with each other and found themselves trailing the Wildcats 2-0 at the break. In the second half the Huskies were able to find the net when Kallie Strazdas served the ball up in front of the goal which was finished nicely by Ruth Mejia. The Huskies continued to battle back but fell short with the final score being 3-1 in favor of Mattawan.
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OK, the paper notes just did not hold up well in that first half torrential downpour, so we can recap this one from memory. The Huskies 2008 soccer program finally got to taste soccer against another team, albeit a home game AT Vicksburg. The Michigan winter is no match for Vicksburgs beautiful artificial surface, so let the home games begin away.
The first half was played in a seriously steady rain, but it couldnt stop the Sams from finding the net. Samathas Pace and Kay each scored in the first five minutes of action, on passes from Krista Clancy and Laura Glass. Pace found the net again half way through the first half on an assist by Alicia Conde Lopez. The first half and the heaviest rain ended with Northern leading 3-0.
Lopez had some near misses on shots a few times and Sidney Helmer rocked the side post on another occasion. Ten minutes into the second half, Sam Pace racked up the hat trick on a header off a cross by Natalie McClish. Liz Bejcek wrapped up the scoring with an unassisted goal with eleven minutes left. The final tally: Vicksburg soccer field 1, Northern soccer field 0. Vicksburg scoreboard shows Northern 5, Vicksburg 0, however.
Jillian Karrick notched the shutout in goal, with an assist by the entire defensive unit.
In the early game, also in heavy rain, the JV played a good first half, but were unable to score. During the second half, Hannah Meyer picked up a cross from Melissa Trebing, then got the ball to Kallie Strazdas, who was able to put it in the back of the net for the Huskies first goal of the season. One goal was enough for the 1-0 win. Sydney Block and Chelsea Smith shared keeper duties to record the shutout. Way to go Huskies!
Northerns next HOME game will be AT East Kentwood on Wednesday night
Friday May 23 is Austin Melgar Day.
Saturday May 24 from 10 am to 2 pm is the Car Wash!
Tuesday June 17 is Banquet Date at the WMU Fetzer Center.
Congratulations! to Anna Stinson on making the U17 National Select Team while she was down in Florida at the SYL ODP National Camp. Bring some warm weather back with you Anna!
CALENDAR: Check out the handy calendar with practice and game schedules. Always rely on your coaches for the latest information, and make sure thay have your (and your parents) email addresses for last-minute changes. To email Andy, click here.
FUNDRAISING HELP NEEDED: Future Husky Austin Melgar (youngest brother of current Husky Brianna) is fighting neuroblastoma, and since this is an "orphan" disease (one that affects such a small number that the development of pharmaceuticals costs far more than could ever be recovered from patients), a group of 100 parents has banded together to raise money to help scientists and clinicians develop a promising drug candidate. For more information, click here.
GAME SCHEDULES ARE AVAILABLE ON highschoolsports.net
PRESEASON INFO, click here
Special thanks to our Game Summary Authors this year: Ed Stinson for the varsity and Sharon Strazdas (and Betty Trebing as backup) for the JV. We appreciate it!