Portage Northern High School
2009 Women's Soccer
Head Coach: Andy Fuehr
Junior Varsity Coach: Pat Tetreault
Varsity Assistants: Justin Rhodes and Erin Carlson
Trainer: Andy Lawrence
Congratulations Huskies on a season where you won 70% of your games. Highlights include a big victory over defending two-time State Champion Forest Hills Central in the District Semifinal, an early-season victory over Okemos, and taking top ranked Portage Central to overtime in mid-season. "District Finalist" in the toughest district in the state ain't too shabby, and parents, friends, and fans enjoyed the show!
For a slideshow of action photos from games throughout the season, click here.
For passersby on Milham Avenue, seeing the huge crowd and knowing the two Portage high schools were banging heads in the district final at Portage Northern, they may have been slightly shocked that the scoreboard read: Home 4 Guest 2. Certainly, the unranked Huskies beating the undefeated and top ranked Mustangs would be considered an upset.
Well, tempted to end the story there, we must continue.
In the district draw, the Portage Central Mustangs were considered the home team in the final, and they played up to their billing as top dog; I mean horse, in the district that has seen East Kentwood and Forest Hills Central go home earlier than either would have hoped for. Perhaps the largest crowd in the recent history of the matchup turned out on this beautiful Saturday afternoon. Portage Northern gave the Mustangs a close encounter until about three minutes left, when Paige Wester scored her second goal of the game to give PC the breathing room they needed to finish the victory.
Central scored first 17 minutes into the game, after controlling most of game up to that point. With just under five minutes left in the half, Sam Kay weaved through three defenders before a flurry of action in front of the goal, where Casey Shauman drained the tying goal. A tie at the break could have been a motivation generator for Northern, as their defense played a stellar first half since most of the action was in their territory. However PC countered with under three minutes left to take a 2-1 halftime lead.
Northern senior Jillian Karrick made two nice saves in the first ten minutes of the second half, but the Mustangs scored shortly after that to move the lead to 3-1. From that point until the final goal with under three minutes left, Northern created enough opportunities to cause havoc, but could only connect on one of them. After a foul outside of and near the left edge of the box, Anna Stinson hit a hard free kick that PC goalie Sam Bowditch knocked down; but an alert Laura Glass drained the rebound to make it 3-2. Northern tried but could not get the equalizer, in large part due to the continued ball-control game of the Mustangs. After Wester's late goal, the game ended 4-2 in favor of Mustangs, who move to regional action and will have to defend their "favored" status throughout the remaining games. Good luck to PC.
The Huskies finish a fine 15-6-1, and even more fine is the efforts that six seniors have given for the past 3 and 4 years, primarily all varsity years for each one. The memories made will continue for a lifetime, and their record over those four years is a remarkable 72-17-7. The three prior seasons, these seniors enjoyed three district crowns, one regional title, and a conference championship. Although denied in this current district title game, the hardware of the past three seasons will shine in the Huskie Halls for a long time (and if you haven't seen the Senior Night photos yet, click here).
Thanks Krista Clancy (fancy feet, scrappy, many defensives gems and last chance saves over the years); Megan Hayes (long bombs some for goals, perfect timing and clearing, confidence); Andrea Jones (AJ, Jonesy; consistency with power, not backing down, a rock on D); Jillian Karrick (thankfully gave up track; fearless without regard to her body; academic prowess; and one of the most memorable saves ever captured on a highlight video); Rachel Meyer (speed with smarts; smooth passing; brought some "attitude" to the pitch this year and created some Husky PK's with it); Sam Pace (toughness with talent; ball control Marshall had to practically decapitate her to get the ball out of the corner; and did we mention toughness yet?). It's always tough to fill the shoes of seniors, and this year will be even more so due to the experience, and experiences, they depart with.
But, like always, Portage Northern will fill them, and come back for more memories next year.
Paying respect to the flag
Cassie knocks it upfield
Ball's to her right and Anna's first to it
Coaches as the game gets underway
Chez Husky served us well all season
Jillian's in the middle of this scrum and comes up with the save
Lots of action in the air
Megan sends a direct kick into the PC box
Casey works to break free
Sam pulls ahead
Natalie defends shoulder to shoulder
Laura waits for the right time to dispossess
Andrea keeps her outside
PN defeats Forest Hills Central in District Semifinal (27.May.2009)
The nut has been cracked. Let's take the time tunnel back to the spring of 2005, the 22-win Huskies vs. Forest Hills Central in the state semi-finals. The Rangers knock the Huskies out one game from the title match. A few more years of thumping followed. Last season, to the spring of 2008, the 22-win Huskies vs. Forest Hills Central in the state semi-final game once again. The Rangers knock the Huskies out one game from the title match, and go on to win their third state title in the last five years. One month ago, in the infamous "Flu" game, the Rangers throttle the Huskies 4-0. Now, tonight, with nutcrackers in hand, and a prophetic pre-game rainbow encompassing the newly paid off Chez Husky concession and bathroom, the Huskies finally were able to get that Ranger off their back.
Looking back (OK, still in the past sorry) after last year's loss, here is a sentence from that final game recap: "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!" Well, as it turned out, FHC moved up also, and once again here they were!
The rainbow followed a downpour which preceded a very sunny and steamy first half. The Rangers seemed to create more first half opportunities than the Huskies, but the defense came up with one big play after another. And when they weren't making big plays around the goal, they were winning many individual battles. Freshman Brianne Bye let Husky fans think for a moment "oh no, the opponent is getting by Bri" but only for a moment if that. Instantly Bri reverses fortunes and takes control. The defense of Andrea Jones, Megan Hayes, Laura Glass and Natalie McClish came up big play after play. Sam Kay played good D also oops, she's on offense but she was everywhere, seemingly playing O and D. Sam Pace played perhaps her best game as a Husky, doing the hustle and the small things that create victory. Casey Shauman, another offensive player, joined McClish and Cassie VanderSloot in rejecting balls that were net-bound. Rachel Meyer played well, and very nearly drove home the dagger with a sneaky long ball in the second half when the goalie had ventured out too far. Danielle Melgar, Krista Clancy, and Kallie Strazdas also supplied quality minutes to help the cause.
Northern did grab the first half lead with just 12 minutes left, after VanderSloot and Kay won balls in the middle and got a pass to Stinson, who moved around a couple defenders and lofted a ball just outside the goalie's reach. Of the close calls at the other end, one hair-raising session (even for Jillian's grandpa) was with 5 minutes left in the half, when dangerous Ranger Kaely Schlosser worked along the end line to within a few feet of goalie Jillian Karrick and let it rip. The ball ricocheted around like a pinball machine right back into hands of Karrick, protecting the 1-0 halftime lead. It was one of 9 saves Jill made for the game, with a few coming at crunch time near the end of the game. The hot first half ended with most Northern players looking like their lungs were too small for another half.
Halftime saw some fans that could not eat during the day due to nerves purchase settling beverages like coke but no food just yet.
The second half Northern seemed to energize. Megan Hayes, who in numerous games can be one of Northern's best offensive weapons with her monster Sweeper kicks, set up for a free kick at midfield 8 minutes into the half. With a couple teammates looking like they were closing in for headers (just a camouflage), they stepped back and let the ball bounce, surprising the goalie who could only watch the bomb explode into the net. With the old "a 2-goal lead is a dangerous lead" mantra lingering in heads, the Huskies got the ever, EVER so important third goal just two minutes later. Stinson fired a corner to near the top of the box where VanderSloot slapped a one-timer past the goalie. Ah, 3-0 felt so good until the Rangers woke up with just 18 minutes left. Schlosser drove the end line again, and her short cross was drilled home making it 3-1. Then with two minutes left, the Rangers scored again making it 3-2. In what may have been the slowest 120 seconds known to mankind, Northern hung on and ended the physical, draining contest in the knick of time. Efficiency was key, as Northern lost the Shots on Goal stat by a 4-11 mark, but 3 of the 4 shots found the net.
The win made five losses during the regular season seem irrelevant well, maybe four of the losses anyway. In the toughest district in the state, the two Portage teams survive to play for the District marbles on Saturday. The only thing that could be better than this is, well, if we were in different divisions like last year. But since we aren't, let the games begin.
In this sequence goalkeeper Jillian Karrick snuffs out an attack by Forest Hills Central standout Kaely Schlosser
Karrick saved almost everything that came her way. Here are four other second half saves to preserve the victory.
From "Zoo On The Pitch" blog Tuesday before 1st round games-
Portage Northern got districts going with a solid victory over Kalamazoo Central, 8-0, in the last game this year that the Huskies will be "favored". With districts on their home turf, Northern did not waste time, scoring less than one minute in on a Samantha Kay unassisted goal. Kay would end up with a Texas hat trick, scoring three more times, two on assists from Anna Stinson and Sam Pace. Stinson scored twice, one on a long free kick (see photo below). Natalie McClish also scored, on a cross pass from Kay. Senior goalie Jillian Karrick recorded the shutout in goal, the Huskies 7th shutout of the season.
The other Husky goal came off the foot of Erin Prior, a freshman playing on the varsity for the first time (assisted by Kallie Strazdas). Other JV players who saw action and contributed to the victory were sophomores Lauren Barlow and Sydney Block, and freshmen Josie Huss and Chelsea Carpentier.
Another freshman, although not a newcomer to the varsity, who seemed to have a little more speed than normal on this day less (h)air resistance was Danielle Melgar. Over the weekend, Danielle had her head shaved to raise money for cancer research, and in honor of her late younger brother Austin. Danielle is one of the few people we know that could shave her head and still look cute! Way to go Danielle, keeping the fight going.
Wednesday night Northern will try to turn the tables on a Forest Hills Central team that has been a tough nut to crack the past few years. Get your friends and family out to the game; and everyone bring your nutcrackers.
PC plays Lowell at 5:00 and PN plays FHC at 7.
Anna jukes around a defender
in first half action
Hard to see but Stinson put this direct kick between the fingertips and the crossbar
Natalie owned the right side and had many nice crosses into the box
Rachel wins this one in the air and played strong offense and defense
Melissa puts it back in play and had a good game up front
Jillian doesn't get too many assists but she had a big one after the game
is with great sadness the PN soccer family mourns
will be a celebration of her life on Tuesday morning, May 26
EGR Rolls to Victory (22.May.2009)
One of our most loyal fans, Laura Glass' grandmother
Marian Glass, drove to most of the team's games. She gave kind smiles to all,
and contributed calm game commentary---she was a very pleasant piece of the Husky
fan club. She was on her way to our game Wednesday when a car accident claimed
her life. The Husky soccer program offers thoughts and prayers to Laura, Blake,
Sarah, and Blake Jr.
Northern traveled to East GR for their final regular season game. EGR has been a D-2 force in soccer for years, and this year is no exception as they are ranked third. They tout a very talented senior class, and especially at the midfield. But it was an "off the radar" freshman who fired up three goals within seven minutes near the end of the first half that created a 3-0 halftime lead. The deficit was depressing, but the Huskies played their best soccer of the game over the first 30 minutes of the second half, creating many opportunities. In fact, for the whole game, the Huskies were only outshot 18-21.
It seemed Northern got the break they needed midway through the second half, when Krista Clancy was flattened in the box from behind. Sadly, neither ref could locate their whistle at the time, and the break vanished. EGR scored late in the game to finish off the 4-0 victory.
On to districts, where EK and FHC coaches are quoted in Saturday's Grand Rapids Press as calling it by far the toughest district in the state. FHC Coach Stacey said "if you want the best teams in the state to play each other late in the tournament, this is NOT the way to do it." Yet the State Tournament is the place to face the best, so let the games begin!
As is typical of any match against a highly ranked opponent, much of it was played in the air
The Portage Northern Huskies players, parents and fans enjoyed a day full of stress-free school and work leading up to a friendly game of soccer with the St. Joe Bears. It was yet another benefit of playing in the conference runner-up game. It was also the first 80 degree game with bright sunshine just another reason for looking at the bright side.
Today's Kalamazoo Gazette sports section had a huge headline: "Sizzlin' Sammy". OK, it was for the Detroit Red Wings Samuelson, but it could be tomorrow's headline also. Sam Kay and Sam Pace alternated goals in the first fifteen minutes of the game, two each to give the Huskies a 4-0 lead. All four goals were assisted by Anna Stinson, who was fresh off a six game suspension for giving blood without her headgear on, definitely a red card.
Casey Shauman scored the fifth goal of the game on a pass from senior Rachel Meyer. Rachel knows the game well, which is kind of surprising since whenever she would go to her older sister's games when she was a kid, she and her younger sister Hannah (JV team) would run off to the woods and play with their dolls the entire game.
St. Joe scored midway through the first half to make it 5-1. Then, before the half ended, Stinson scored on a long loft shot off a fine pass from Melissa Trebing to make it 6-1 at the break.
On the defensive end in the first half, Chantel LaDuke took advantage of some extra playing time by playing tough D. Also, Brianna Melgar stuffed the Bears on a few occasions. The entire defense has done excellent work this year, allowing just over one goal per game on average, including six shutouts.
The second half would be cut short by 15 minutes due to the Huskies scoring three more times. Sam Kay completed her hat trick on an assist from the other Sizzlin' Sam. Danielle Melgar scored off an assist from Cassie VanderSloot, and then Stinson finished the scoring and the game by striking a free kick from 30 yards out just over the goalie's head. Northern wins 9-1 to go 14-4-1 on the season.
JV GAME SUMMARY: The St. Joe Bears came to town hoping to steal a win from a topsy-turvy Portage Northern JV team, but they left sorely disappointed. The Huskies took early command of the game and never relinquished control as they sailed to an easy 3-1 victory. The ladies pounded the St. Joe defense with 18 shots on goal. Two goals were scored by Erin Prior bringing her season total to 12 and one goal was added by Megan Stanley raising her total to 9. Because the Bear defense constantly played up too far, the Huskies were able to kick the ball past the last defender multiple times. From there it was a race to the ball and usually another shot on goal by the home team. Taylor Hopkins and Sydney Block combined for a total of three saves. Crisp passing and being first to the ball were the key ingredients that allowed the team to come out on top. Nice job, girls - another well-deserved win! The last game of the season will be played in East Grand Rapids on Friday.
Big Brothers Big Sisters Annual Benefit Dinner
Lindsay Tarpley is the featured speaker at this year's
Big Brothers Big Sisters Benefit Dinner at the Radisson Plaza Hotel on June 15 starting at 5:15. Tickets cost $300 each and include a ticket for a demonstration by Lindsay Tarpley earliler that day. To purchase tickets and/or become a sponsor, please contact Louise Wright at 343-2963, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Sherry Butler at 382-6800, SherryB@bbbsmi.org. For more information, click here
Big Brothers Big Sisters Corporate Sponsorship opportunities
What could be better than a game of high school women's soccer on a crisp, sunny spring evening at one of the nicest soccer fields in the area? A victory, that's what. But a certain motivated team that has not had success against Portage Northern in recent memory was determined to end their skein once and for all. The Lakeview Spartans were focused on Northern, while Northern may have been peaking around the corner looking for a perennial rematch with Portage Central on Wednesday. Whatever the reasons, the bottom line is the Huskies were ambushed by a hungrier team on this night.
The first half was fairly even, with possession probably in favor of the Huskies. Northern did create perhaps five or six scoring chances, but could not find the back of the net. The Spartans found it however, 23 minutes into the contest, and grabbed a 1-0 lead that would hold up until less than five minutes left in the game. With Northern pressing forward to try to create late game heroics, Lakeview would twice in two minutes put daggers into the Dawg by countering and beating the Huskies back at the other end. The three goals by Lakeview were nearly as efficient as you can get, coming with only four shots on goal (to six for the Huskies).
Looking for silver linings:
Sammy made some exciting plays Monday evening!
Kallie drives upfield against a stingy Spartan defense
JV GAME SUMMARY: The JV team must have remembered the first game of the season when the Lakeview Spartans edged out a 2-1 victory. The Huskies' retribution resulted in the team playing one of the hardest fought games this year, which sealed a 3-0 shutout. Hope White had the lone goal in the first half. Chelsea Carpentier started the second half with a high arcing kick that was just out of the reach of the Spartan goalkeeper for the second goal. The middle of the second period saw Ciara Pinho center the ball to the middle of the box where it hit the hand of a Spartan defender. Erin Prior took the ensuing penalty kick and scored easily. Great defense again by Lauren Barlow, Jenna Long and Danielle Salayer made it quite painless for our two goalkeepers who totaled five saves on the day. The Huskies will play their final game of the season on Friday against East Grand Rapids.
Northern plays Plainwell to 2-2 Draw (15.May.2009)
This is the first game recap that was not done immediately after the game, and for good reason. Most of the dads had to get right home and go right to bed and get a good night sleep to be able to run the car wash fundraiser on Saturday morning. Yes, some players put in respectable efforts, but it's their efforts flagging down cars that really make things happen. A few dads tried to lure in traffic by flashing their hairy legs, but were greeted by jeers and zero customers. Thanks to all who helped.
Friday night the Huskies traveled to Plainwell, which is having another fine season (15-3). Northern has ended the Trojan's season each of the past two years in the state tournament, and that certainly created added intensity in this game. Northern had to corral Plainwell's young speedsters while the Trojans needed to battle Husky experience. It made for a well-played and exciting game.
Northern scored first ten minutes in when Casey Schauman took a swing at a bouncing, blowing, wet ball 18 yards in front of the net. The ball squibbed off her foot in the air to the right, where Danielle Melgar plucked the ball out of the air with a one-time blast over the goalie's head. Northern, with the wind to their backs, had many opportunities to add to the lead, but could not convert, and the half ended 1-0. Those opportunities were created by a stifling first half defense, led by freshman Brianne Bye and senior Andrea Jones. The first half did have one other highlight, a rare "Samstitution", with Sam Kay and Sam Pace both coming out of the game at the same time.
Plainwell finally countered 12 minutes into the second half, after a corner kick was rejected out about 30 yards, where a Trojan hit a bullet that gave a few haircuts on its way to the upper part of the net. Then, with what felt like a game winner with 14 minutes left, Sam Pace scored on an unassisted, perfectly placed left-footed floater from 20 yards. The 2-1 Husky lead was short-lived however, and Plainwell tied it 2-2 with ten minutes left in the game, when another even longer ball somehow found the hard ground in the box where a leaping Trojan player headed the ball off the bounce and into the goal. With no overtime on tap, the game ended in a tie. Northern led in shots 7-6 (SOG at 6-3), but in a telling tale, the Huskies worked up zero corner kicks while Plainwell had 9.
On Saturday however, Northern washed 60 cars, Plainwell zero (that we know of).
Cassie moves in for one of her
patented slide tackles
Sam holds off a strong opponent
Natalie chooses a good spot to deliver
Megan sends it back into the mix
Erika steps in front to be first to the ball
Casey after one of her well-timed headers
Like a scene from the movie Groundhog Day, it all seemed so familiar. Work all day, come to the game, and the Lakeshore Lancers are on the field again. They were just here Monday, and now two days later they're back thanks to the luck (or lack of luck for those who dislike four hours on a bus in one week) of the conference tournament draw. Fans lugged in umbrellas and lightning rods, but the storm that was forecast all day whimpered into dark clouds and a nice breeze perfect weather for a victory.
Ten minutes into this game, Northern fired up a scoring spurt over the next 4 minutes with three goals. First, Casey Shauman played a perfect pass to Sam Kay, who quickly made a deposit into the net. Then Laura Glass, a state qualifying golfer in the fall, put a corner kick on a tee, where Menace McClish putted the ball to Cassie VanderSloot, who finished the hole with a wedge shot over the goalies head, for a birdie and a 2-0 lead. Then, the Sams got together for a beauty, with Sam Pace hitting a perfect header to lead Sam Kay toward the goal on the run, where Kay scored again. Kay contributed to the next goal as well, passing to McClish who crossed a perfect ball to Melissa Trebing, who knocked the ball into the net and performed a very quick victory leap. The Huskies led 4-0 at the half.
The Lancers got on the board ten minutes into the second half on an awesome spin move by A. Johnson to get free and score. But within the next two minutes, Northern would counter twice. Danielle Melgar made a fine goal from the left side after a nice lead pass from Kay. Then, National Sam Day continued when Sam Pace scored unassisted. Finally, Sam Kay again, with a cross that Kallie Strazdas ever so slightly headed to Erika Jansen, who slammed the ball in from the right side for the final goal in the 7-1 win.
Northern moves to 13-3 on the year, with tough games galore coming up Friday (at Plainwell), Monday (at Lakeview), Wed (we hope somewhere really close), and next Fri (at East GR). And then let's not be shy about it the state title run. With the ultra-tough Districts at the Husky Soccer Complex this year, we can honestly say the state title runs through Northern!
Trying to knock in a nice serve from the corner
AJ heads it with authority
JV GAME SUMMARY: This was a repeat performance by the JV squad who went up against the same Lakeshore Lancers team as they did on Monday. After a freak goal by the opponents, the Huskies got it in gear and controlled the tempo for the rest of the game cruising to a 4-1 win. Besides the four goals scored by Erin Prior, Savannah Fuller and Chelsea Carpentier (2), the Huskies added another 10 shots on goal. The defense could not be penetrated and allowed the offense to maintain constant pressure on the Lakeshore squad. As the old saying goes, "The best offense is a good defense." Taylor Hopkins and Sydney Block combined for a total of three saves. Good hustle and excellent execution made this another easy victory for the home team. Next on the docket: an away game against Plainwell this Friday.
The Mayor added a new twist to Chez Husky tonight, offering up sautéed onions as a compliment to the grilled burgers, brats and chicken sandwiches. These things don't just happen naturally they demand huge efforts by parents who sacrifice their time and energy to make a soccer program successful and attending a game an event. Betty Trebing and Sharon Strazdas create a dining experience that is unmatched in any high school soccer complex in the area, if not the state. You are lucky to get a cold dog at other "high end" concession stands, but tonight my grilled chicken sandwich, with lettuce, tomato, sautéed onions, mustard; complimented with dessert of four Tootsie Pops (2 orange and 2 brown Go Huskies) was as good as it gets. Thanks Betty and Sharon for another year of Husky Dinner Theatre.
As for soccer, the Lakeshore Lancers, second in the West Division, visited for a West vs. Central crossover game. Northern would control most of this game, but with a few very fast and talented offensive threats, Lakeshore showed a potential for scoring. At the ten minute mark, one of these athletes broke open for a breakaway toward the goal but Megan Hayes chased her down and made a steal at the last second. Midway through the first half, Northern finally took the lead with a Laura Glass corner kick redirected by Sam Kay right to Casey Shauman, who performed a funky leg contorting pirouette reverse knee bending goal. With 10 minutes left in the half, it was Casey again, this time with a pass to Kallie Strazdas, who forwarded a perfect cross pass to Natlie McClish, who gave the Huskies a 2-0 lead. Two minutes later, Schauman took a pass from Sam Pace, and then promptly hit the cross bar, which she does often because it tends to be more challenging than simply putting into that big space with the net, which anybody can do! Just before the half, Sam Pace continued her fine passing and pushed one over to Glass, who rifled a shot past the goalie for a 3-0 halftime lead.
In the second half, the Huskies scored twice more. Danielle Melgar, who made a few perfect crosses that weren't finished earlier, finally had one put away by Rachel Meyer, her second goal in two games, both being hard one-time blasts off fine cross passes. Then, finishing the scoring, Strazdas fought hard to win the ball, then sent a pass to Sam Kay, who hit a ball directly to Danielle Melgar, who then wrapped up the Northern scoring, giving the Huskies the 5-0 win.
On the defensive front, besides another shutout by Jillian Karrick, Brianna Melgar made numerous fine defensive plays. Also playing well at both ends of the field, a senior player who seems to never let up, always working hard, and constantly looking for that next battle for the ball Krista Clancy nicknamed by her youth soccer coach Pete Jarrad as "The Junkyard Dog". That's right; don't come sneaking around at night looking for that certain easy pass to make or run to take, 'cause the Junkyard Dog will eat you alive.
JV GAME SUMMARY: The JV Huskies had a pretty easy time handling the Lakeshore Lancers and controlling the ball for most of the game. The Huskies kept the Lancers back on their heels as they racked up 16 shots on goal in a one-sided 6-0 game. Husky goals were contributed by Sarah Kreider, Hope White, Danielle Hirsch, Chelsea Carpentier and Erin Prior who scored two. The defense was spectacular with Stephanie Cooper, Jenna Long and Lauren Barlow leading the way. Although our goalkeepers got to touch the ball a few times, it was another game where neither Taylor Hopkins nor Sydney Block recorded a single save. The ladies earned this win with lots of hustle and precise passing. This is one win they can all be proud of. Thank you JV squad for making this game an enjoyable one to watch. The ladies now prepare for a tournament game on Wednesday.
More Senior Night photos are available on the Senior
It was Senior Night at Portage Northern Soccer Complex, and Northern's #1 senior for many years, Trudy Riker, was once again on hand to let our girls know they needed to pick it up a notch, the refs know to pay a little closer attention, and after a second half lockdown, that "That's more like it, ladies!" The former soccer (coach) mom knows a ho-hum half when she sees one, and knows a great half also. She witnessed both tonight.
The team's seniors were honored before the game, with their parents, for three and four years of varsity service for all six of them. The seniors again played large for the Huskies in the 3-1 victory:
Gull Lake controlled most of that ho-hum first half, even though the Huskies did get off about five excellent shot attempts. Husky defender Natalie McClish was goalie-in-training in the early minutes, kicking away two balls considering crossing the goal line. GL continued pressing, and drew first blood (not to be confused with drawing blood by the American Red Cross, which can often be a bloody nightmare) at the 26 minute mark on a loose ball in the box that Bond flicked over Karrick's head. Just two minutes later however, one of Meyer's shots was deflected OB by the Gully (Gull Lake goalie), giving Northern a corner. Laura Glass sent the ball into the box where senior AJ Andrea Jones got the tying goal. Hey, maybe that wasn't such a ho-hum half.
The second half saw Northern really put forth one of the best halves of soccer this year. On the defensive end, freshman Brianne Bye, thinking it was senior night so she was supposed to play like a senior, really tightened the reigns defensively on the other team's main offensive player, which has been her assignment much of the year. Cassie VanderSloot also worked like a warrior in the middle.
After McClish hit the crossbar on a shot, Meyer hit a smashing one-timer from a perfect cross from Casey Shauman, for the eventual game winner. Just moments later, VanderSloot found Samantha Kay near the goal and Kay did not waste the pass, scoring for the sixth time in three games, to give the Huskies the 3-1 victory. The shots on goal totals were close, with Northern at 12 and Gull Lake at 8.
Are you still with me? Senior Jillian Karrick went upstairs to knock out a couple potential goals tonight. Nobody would doubt Jillian's ability to climb to great heights in her upcoming career either, a confident and kind go-getter. When Jill was a 4th grader, she begged her dad Greg to let her come up on the roof with him when he was doing a project up there. His response was always "No", because once up there, she would undoubtedly find trouble. One evening, Greg and Wendy left for a few hours for a quick date. A neighbor called their cell phone to tell them Jillian was on the roof. The neighbor said she told Jill to come down from the roof, but Jillian, of sound mind and spirit, said "Oh, it's OK, my dad lets me do this all the time". Jill didn't even use a ladder, but used stacked chairs, boxes and a bucket to get up there hmmm, sound mind?? Husky fans know, however, it is this kind of experience that makes Jill one of the best goalies around!
Andrea Jones knocked in this goal after a perfect serve from Laura Glass as two other Huskies are there to make sure it goes in
JV GAME SUMMARY: The JV squad had a tough time handling the Gull Lake Blue Devils. The Huskies were on the short end as they fell 3-0 on Thursday. The only offense mustered up by the team were three shots on goal as they were out-hustled for nearly the entire game. Although the skill of the Gull Lake squad was very comparable to ours, their speed gave them the upper hand on every play. Goalkeepers Taylor Hopkins and Sydney Block were able to tally eight saves between themselves. The gals will need to get back to basics, become more proactive than reactive and focus on the next game which is at home against Lakeshore on Monday.
Former Husky star defender Mary McCarthy would have loved the physicality of this match, since she is now playing rugby at Michigan. The Safe Sports Prayer came in handy in the pregame, since this was not a contest for the faint of heart. True fans of English football had to be impressed with some of the strong play displayed Monday evening.
The game was evenly and fairly played in the first half, with more of the action taking place on the Husky offensive end though. Not until half way through the first half did Northern break the scoreless tie. With Kristin Kay taking a bathroom break (was it a real break or just one of her patented "leave the bleachers and Northern scores" things), Krista Clancy took control of a ball just outside the box and was fouled. Sam Kay drilled a low worm-burner through the defensive wall and into the far corner. Within seconds, Kristin resurfaced. The goal held up for a halftime lead of 1-0.
Many underclassmen played well tonight, including healthy again Natalie McClish and Erika Jansen. But it was an all-around effort by the senior class that met the challenges and came through to lead the Huskies to victory. Krista Clancy with smart, heads-up play; goalie Jillian Karrick with some nice saves and the shutout; Rachel Meyer hustling all over the offensive end; Andrea Jones with rock solid, you can't knock me down D; Megan Hayes with her "give my fans their breath back" clearing kicks; and Sam The Bam Pace, who took the ball to the corner twice in the last few minutes and protected it like a Husky protects it's young.
The second half saw the athletic RedHawks threaten a few times, although the Huskies ended up having a shot on goal advantage of 11 to 3 for the game. Northern's play calmed briefly in the half, but Joyce McClish reignited the team: "Come on Huskies, stop playing like puppies"! Northern finished out the game playing tough, and after all the fireworks, Sam Kay broke free with about ten seconds left and you just knew it wasn't going to be easy. Sammy was clipped from behind with two seconds left. As she lined up for the PK, both sides, fans and players, were confused and thought the game was tied, or at least that's the way everyone was yelling and screaming. Kay punched in the PK for a 2-0 victory and her second goal of the contest.
It was an exhausting game for the fans. But we need to stay focused. There are many more games where we need to come up with creative things to yell (positive things please), so get your rest, stay away from large gatherings of people, drink plenty of fluids, and save room for a grilled chicken sandwich.
We can guess who's going to win this ball...
Looks like the far post's open especially
if she can bend it like Beckham
JV GAME SUMMARY: The JV squad fell just short on Monday, losing 2-1 to the Marshall Redhawks. Because both squads were so equally matched, it was fun to watch this nail-biter as momentum shifted several times throughout the game. The Huskies were able to penetrate the Marshall defense, but their shots were limited. They worked hard to get nine shots on goal, six by Erin Prior. Chelsea Carpentier was accredited for the lone Husky goal. Danielle Salayer kept the Redhawks' offense in check running down the balls and keeping them at bay for most of the game. Goalkeepers, Taylor Hopkins and Sydney Block had a light day accumulating a total of seven saves. The gals will refocus and gear up for a home game on Thursday as they face Gull Lake.
Cetera Washington. Talisha Bridges. Ondrea Hughes. These players have dished it out relentlessly and drove their Loy Norrix Knights to victory year after year. Luckily, those are basketball players. Every school has their sport to pound on you, and it hasn't been soccer for the Knights. However, with two new very knowledgeable coaches, some young talent, and signs tonight that they are getting "game", it could be a short while before Norrix is very competitive. Tonight they showed some passion and some patience, and their senior leader Hannah Labadie chased down a nice pass and scored ten minutes in to tie the score at 1-1; but even with promise, that would be the lone goal for the Knights on this night.
That Husky first goal came quickly on an unassisted goal by Samantha Kay three minutes into the game. After the Labadie score, another 12 minutes passed before Northern would score and take the lead for good. Danielle Melgar slotted a ball into the middle to Kay, who calmly just lifted her foot and let the ball slide under it to a wide open Anna Stinson, who scored from five yards out. In the last ten minutes of the first half, the Huskies would finish the scoring for the game with two more goals. The first came off a Stinson rocket that hit the crossbar (her second bar in seconds); Sam Kay gathered up the rebound, took a quick dribble and placed the ball perfectly in the corner of the net. Then, Kay again, for the hat trick, when the Norrix goalie misfired on a clearing attempt to a "wide open" Kay, who was, like, "cool", and jammed home her third goal and a 4-1 halftime and final score.
There were things to improve on for the Huskies, but there were also many good things that happened throughout the game. Sam Pace delivered a slew of nice passes and was radically calm in numerous physical exchanges. Breanne Bye seemed to win all of her individual battles, and Megan Hayes continually swept up threats and delivered surefire passes.
This ability of senior Megan Hayes to pick off passes, step in to tackle opponents, and deliver accurate passes did not simply come naturally for Megan. It took a lot of practice at an early age, and most of that practice came in Kohl's Department Store. With Judy doing the shopping for the family, she would give Megan a piece of paper to draw on. Megan would wad the paper up into a ball, then put it on the store floor and get after it. Dribbling around clothes racks, down isles, kicking it over the displays, nutmegging the clerk, and, now, you know the rest of the story.
JV GAME SUMMARY: The JV Huskies set another season record with 19 shots on goal as they easily defeated the Loy Norrix Knights, 6-0. This was also the second game this season where neither Husky goalkeeper had a single save. The six goals were scored by six different players: Sarah Kreider, Danielle Hirsch, Kristen Seymour, Nikki Hartman, Ciara Pinho and Chelsea Carpentier. This game was one of complete domination as the Huskies retrieved the ball only a handful of times from their defensive end and maintained ball control with crisp passing and ball control. It looks like the JV squad is back to their winning ways and hopefully they'll keep this momentum going next Monday when they face Marshall (Crossover East opponent) on their home turf. Congratulations, ladies! The accolades are yours to enjoy!
The flu bug that had half the team staggering through last Friday's game with FH Central (the 6th game in 7 days) seemed to have run it's course over the weekend and the Huskies were back to eating solids and scoring goals Monday night at BC Central. Another slick field (this time from rain!) slowed down the action somewhat, but the game still ended after one half due to the ten goals scored by the Huskies. BC Central seems to always be able to field a team, and although they may not be a traditional soccer school, they never slacked off during these 40 minutes of action, made many good defensive stops, and the bench cheered for small victories like hard tackles. Here are hats off to the Bearcats for their effort and sportsmanship.
scored fairly evenly throughout the contest. Here are the scorers and assistor(s):
1. Casey Shauman header (or hairer) off a corner from Anna Stinson.
2. Sammy Kay unassisted.
3. Shauman from Danielle Melgar off a Stinson corner.
4. Stinson from Kay.
5. Laura Glass header off a Stinson free kick.
6. Glass header #2 off a Stinson corner.
7. Danielle Melgar header off a Megan Hayes corner.
8. Rachel Meyer unassisted 30 yard loft shot over the goalie's head.
9. Krista Clancy from: choose one 1) Cassie VanderSloot 2) Brianna Melgar 3) Melissa Trebing...(depending on whose mother you ask).
10. Trebing off a Danielle Melgar cross, received from Rachel Meyer.
allowed only one ball to reach goalie Jillian Karrick in the 10-0 win.
A healthy win beats a sick loss any day.
The long awaited rematch of last year's state semi-finals in D-2 turned into a stomach-churning affair. The Rangers used a strong wind to their back in the first half to keep the ball on the Husky end and scored three times on header goals, one three minutes in, the next at the midpoint of the half, and the final one with five minutes left. Goalie Jillian Karrick made many saves and challenged the Rangers successfully away from the goal numerous times in the game.
Northern had few chances in the contest, with the closest opportunities coming in the second half with Kallie Strazdas and Casey Shauman working together to create a near miss, and Sam Kay hitting the bar late in the game. FHC scored early in the second half to create the final 4-0 margin.
Northern falls to 7-3 with the loss, with the three losses coming against this year's D-1 district foes. Northern players plan to rest this weekend, and then WIN the rest of their games this season.
JV GAME SUMMARY: The JV Huskies did all they could to hang close to the visiting Forest Hills Central Rangers, but to no avail. The ladies were able to muster two second half goals, but fell to the Rangers 4-2. The sole bright spot of the game was the incredible 67% goals-to-shots ratio; two goals on three shots. Goals were scored by Erin Prior (her sixth of the season) and Megan Stanley (her eighth of the season). The JV team will be away for their next game on Monday when they face Battle Creek Central at the Battle Creek Math and Science Center.
Rachel's off to the races
Anna gets behind the defense
The Huskies played their second opponent of "Central Week", this time Kalamazoo Central. But the big game took second fiddle to the main battles of the night which preceded the varsity action. In two simultaneous games of Youth (the smallest of youth) Soccer, the competition was fierce. In the boys' action, the Green Goblins shut down the Yellow Jackets 3-0. In the girls' game, Blue Lightning, with goals from Cloe and Hannah, surprised the Lemon Bumble Flies (who did not want to be called BEES because "they sting"!) by a score of 2-0. These little people then joined the Huskies during introductions, the National Anthem, and a run across the field. Then, they got their free snack, went home and went to bed.
Northern started the varsity game in sluggish fashion, while K Central was playing with some passion. The defenses were the deal in the first half, with Northern getting only two shots on goal while limiting the Maroon Giants to zero shots. In fact, the Giants were held "shotless" the entire game. Northern did notch one goal 25 minutes in, when an Anna Stinson corner kick was "hipped" by Andrea Jones to Cassie VanderSloot, who knocked the ball into the net. VanderSloot also spent considerable time showing taller players how to win headers.
Halftime saw some heated trivia action in the stands and the answer is Kerri Strug, 1996 Olympics.
The defense stayed tough in the second half in completing their shot-shutout, with Andrea Jones and Laura Glass showing nice ball control and passing, Megan Hayes serving up some long assist opportunities, and Erika Jansen and Chantel LaDuke contributing throughout the game.
The Huskies extended their lead to 2-0 seven minutes into the 2nd half when Sam Pace headed in a corner service from Stinson. Late in the half, VanderSloot scrambled for a loose ball 15 feet right of the net, fell to the ground, recovered to gain ball control, then split a narrow seam between two defenders with a pass to freshman Danielle Melgar, who bellybopped the ball into the goal. It was Melgar's third goal in her first week on varsity. The Huskies had nine shots on goal in the second half, finishing twice for the 3-0 victory.
It was ironic that the toughest of tough Sam Pace had a header goal on AYSO night. The same Sam who finished with 16 wins as a freshman wrestler had trouble spreading out on offense when she was a 5 year old AYSO player. She and another girl would hold hands while playing the forward position. Her mother/coach would yell "you can hold hands after the game, but now I need you to spread out!" Sam has always loved soccer. One night her mother went to tuck her in and felt something hard under the covers. It was Sam's shin guards. In fact, she had her whole uniform on including soccer shoes she did not want to be a second late for the morning game. This became a regular deal for a couple of years. Thanks for your hustle Sam Pace.
AJ skies high to win the header
Rachel gets it around the oncoming defender
JV GAME SUMMARY: The JV Huskies went on the attack the moment the whistle blew and never looked back, pounding the Kalamazoo Central goalkeeper with 10 shots on goal in route to an early stoppage of the game and an 8-0 victory. It was a fast-paced, high energy game as Sarah Kreider, Nikki Hartman and Megan Stanley scored two goals each. Hope White and Erin Prior had one goal apiece. The defense was superb not allowing the opportunity for a single save by either of our goalkeepers, Taylor Hopkins and Sydney Block. Wow! Not a single shot on goal by the visitors. It was nice to see a one-sided game swing in our direction. Congratulations to the JV squad on a job well done! The ladies now prepare for their third home game this week as they take on Forest Hills Central this Friday.
Let's get right to the chase a game shouldn't end this way.
OK, now let's look at the game that shouldn't have ended that way. It was a hard fought rivalry battle that both teams should be proud of for the level of play that was witnessed by another large crowd of Portage soccer fanatics. Portage Central carried the play much of the first half at Northern's end, as Northern either packed the defense in by choice, or was forced to. But the half ended in a scoreless tie.
Northern created many more opportunities in second half. After a PC score, Northern countered 15 minutes into the second half on a play that looked similar to the goal last year that sent Husky fans into a championship frenzy. Anna Stinson slotted a pass between two defenders that Sammy Kay just got enough of a foot on while fending off a defender to slide the ball past the Mustang goalie. The ball beat the goalie in a race back to the net. There were more opportunities to come but the game went to overtime with a 1-1 tie. Shots on goal were just as close in this game; PN with 7 and PC with 8.
The entire defense held a potent PC offense in check and Jillian Karrick was very solid in goal, including one diving save in the first half. Natalie McClish had a huge defensive task and played the entire game with passion and success. There were many defensive stars in this game, and kudos go to all of them for keeping this game tight through 85 minutes of action.
Half way through the first overtime a foul was called on the Huskies, an infraction just outside the box that ended just inside the box. The ref called a penalty kick, and that's where this recap comes to an end.
JV GAME SUMMARY: The JV ladies had a rough go of it on Monday not only trying to fight off the Portage Central Mustangs but also trying to endure the sting of 30-something degree weather. Ball control was extremely tough on the wet field and the girls found themselves in a defensive posture for most of the game. It was a small victory to reach halftime with a scoreless tie. In the second half the Mustangs picked up steam and finished the game with a 3-0 win. The score could have easily been 8-0 if it were not for defensive prowess of Lauren Barlow and Jenna Long. One bright spot was Sydney Block's season high of 13 saves in goal bringing her season total to 38. The JV squad looks to rebound back to their winning ways at home on Wednesday as they take on the Kalamazoo Central Maroon Giants.
Yes, this Game Recapper had to leave work just after noon for the 6:45 pm matchup between the Portages to find my long underwear (brrrrrr), to purchase anti-yelling devices (Tootsie Pops), to get mentally prepared (it's not easy being a parent in this rivalry you know), and for the first time in numerous seasons of recapping, try a Pregame Precap.
Portage Central will bring a deep and talented throng of soccer players across town, along with their parents who will not be able to drag themselves out of bed in the morning if PC falls. On the Northern side, another bunch of talented kids will play their best, and if they fall, their parents will be staying home and out of the public eye for a day or so.
Tomorrow, the Mustang players will take a day to rejoice or recoil, and the Huskies will be smiling or take a day to frown. Yet by Wednesday, they will all be back to the smiles and the fun of high school. But for days, weeks, and for the winners maybe years, the parents will be talkin' smack about the SMAC. If only my playing days were this exciting! Do I want to talk about a Shannon Bennett header goal, a Sammy Kay cross, a humungous crowd or do I want to talk about that missed free throw with no time left on the clock in a one point loss to Wayland over 35 years ago; or the back-to-back-to-back homers that Grand Valley hit off me.
Yes, this current soccer stuff is so exciting and fun we should all feel honored to be a part of it. So here's to another great one, a safe one for every player, and smiles for all the girls at least by Wednesday.
On one of the best spring days yet to go golfing, there would be none. Instead, a full slate of soccer: three games for each varsity and JV team, with Okemos, and Traverse City's West and Central teams coming to Portage to play Northern, Portage Central and Kalamazoo Central.
First up for Northern: Okemos (Coach Andy Fuehr's high school where he starred on the pitch oh so many years ago). The Northern seniors had not beaten the Chiefs in three tries in high school, so they had incentive to replace those scrapbook pages with one of victory. Perennially ranked Okemos played the first five minutes of the game around the Husky net, but Northern worked for three corners in the next five, without converting. Then, Charlie Hustle Samatha Kay made a nice move to rid a defender, and then put a ball in the middle to the foot of Anna Stinson, who converted for a 1-0 lead. Midway through the first half, the Chiefs tied the score on a long shot that bounced like a super ball into the net. Score: 1-1 at the break.
The second half saw the Husky defense finish off a splendid game, shutting down an Okemos offense that includes a bevy of future college players. Breanne Bye shut down Okemos' main offensive gun, and Megan Hayes and Natalie McClish continually squelched the Chiefs penetration. Cassie VanderSloot also did a nice job enforcing and controlling the ball around the mid-field.
With the defense impenetrable, Northern scored the game winner five minutes into the second half. After two successive fouls by Okemos moved the ball to within 25 yards, Stinson's free kick snuck between the goalie's outstretched hands and the top of the net. Then, 15 minutes later, after being mauled in the box, Sam Kay earned and converted a PK that gave Wendy Karrick some breathing room in the stands. Northern pulls out a 3-1 win for the senior scrapbooks.
Game 2: vs. TC Central
By game two, the sun was pumping out seventy degrees and the Mayor was pumping out grilled burgers, the smell of which wafted through the stands and mesmerized the lunch crowd.
Speaking of burgers, this game looked like it could be a picnic after two minutes. Anna Stinson scored one minute in off the second LONG assist of the week by Megan Hayes. Then one minute later a cross to the middle found Sam Pace sacrificing her body on a diving header. A fraction of a millisecond after hitting her head, the ball hit the crossbar. Rachel Meyer scrapped for the loose ball and punched it in for a two minute, 2-0 lead. Ironically, that was all the scoring in this game.
Erika Jansen controlled the back for Northern through most of this game. The Husky defense did not give up a shot on goal the entire game, giving goalie Jillian Karrick a shutout while also allowing her time to organize her busy upcoming week.
Game 3, vs. TC West
Traverse City West Titans were the Huskies final opponent of the day. Each of the three games were 60 minutes long, not the normal 80, but still long enough to count on each teams' season record. The Titans still had some energy left though in this final game, and although they did not get a shot off in the first half, played tough enough to draw to a scoreless tie.
Like the start of the second game, Northern broke through with two goals in two minutes to start the second half. Both goals were scored by Anna Stinson after perfect assist balls by Sam Kay. Ten minutes later, Sam Pace punched a beautiful lob pass over the defense to Stinson, who beat the goalie and gave the Huskies a 3-0 lead. Traverse City scored with 15 minutes left to perk up the crowd late in the day, but another combo struck twice in the waning minutes. Kallie Strazdas twice assisted on goals by Danielle Melgar, playing her first day on the varsity. Melgar struck the first goal with her right foot from the air, and then stroked a nice left footed goal two minutes later. Brianna Melgar started the second goal of her sister by working a fine pass up to Strazdas. Another newcomer to the varsity, on this long day of soccer, Lauren Barlow played fine, aggressive defense to help the Huskies to a 3-0 record on the day, and 6-1 on the young season.
The Northern defense ends the day giving up five shots on goal, less than two per game average. No calculator needed for that stingy story problem.
Northern gets Central fever next week, playing Portage, Kalamazoo, and Forest Hills Central teams Mon, Wed and Fri, respectively.
On a most beautiful night for high school soccer, a fine crowd gathered to watch Portage Northern host the Mattawan Wildcats. There were some empty seats though, and word has it that many who had wanted to witness this game were stuck at home trying to figure out Turbo Tax in the waning hours before the filing deadline.
For the first 20 minutes of this game, the Husky defense locked the ball into Northern's offensive end where they flirted with multiple opportunities to score. Finally, at the 22 minute mark, Anna Stinson fired a corner kick into the pack, where Krista Clancy bodied the ball right back to her, to a point where Stinson angled a quick shot behind the goalie for a 1-0 lead. Five minutes later, Clancy found a corner kick again, this time off the foot of Laura Glass, and headed the ball into the goal for a 2-0 lead. The lead was halved moments later when a Mattawan player made a few nice moves and put a long shot in, one of only two shots on goal for the Wildcats for the game.
In the last ten minutes of the first half, PN rocked the Mattawan net. Rachel Meyer chased down a ball in the box but was tackled in the box by the goalie (we'll give her an unofficial assist for sacrificing her body). Stinson buried the PK. Then, in a fine series of passes, Kallie Strazdas worked the ball by a couple of defenders with nice footwork, hit Stinson in the middle with a pass, who flicked a touch pass to Casey Shauman, who scored in her fourth straight game, to climb within 52 games of tying Joltin' Joe DiMaggio's record of 56 straight games. Finally, to close out a 5-1 halftime lead, Strazdas crossed a ball to Stinson, who finished off a first half hat trick by sneaking a roller past the goalie.
Halftime saw most of the players race off to the tanner to keep their spring break tans in focus. Upon their return, both teams settled in for over 30 minutes of back and forth action. With just 8 minutes left, Northern added to their lead with Melissa Trebing taking a nice shot which the goalie could not handle; Samantha Kay lay in wait for the rebound and blasted it home. Minutes later, Kay scored again, this time blowing past a final defender after taking a monstrous assist from defender Megan Hayes, measured after the game at 215 feet, 8 inches. The 7-1 victory included 19 shots by Northern, 14 on goal.
Northern's defense was stellar in the victory. Senior Andrea Jones, as often is the case, led the charge with excellent physical play. Andrea has always enjoyed physical play. One AYSO game when she was just ten, Andrea's team got a new player a big, fast player for a ten year old. In their first game, this other girl ran into an opposing player and knocked her down. The game was stopped to make sure the other girl was not hurt, and while adults attended to her, little Andrea raced to the sidelines in a fit of anger! Coach was Jeff Jones, Andrea's dad. "Dad", Andrea yelled, "our new player said she was SORRY to that girl she ran over!" So, you might not see Andrea say "sorry" to opposing players that she "bumps" to the turf, but you can sit back and enjoy her physical but fair play. Have a great senior year Andrea!
Freshman Casey Shauman scored for the fourth straight game against Mattawan (click on any image to enlarge)
JV GAME SUMMARY: Our JV Husky team was a bit surprised when the Mattawan Wildcats caught them off-guard in the opening minute of play, scoring on a freak play. It seems the mild embarrassment is just what our girls needed to spur them to action and control the tempo for the rest of the game. The Husky ladies played aggressively and enjoyed the fruit of their labors by bringing home a 5-2 victory. The team had a total of 11 shots on goal with five of them making it past the posts. Megan Stanley and Ciara Pinho contributed two goals each and Erin Prior also added one. The game was marked by the Huskies' great hustle ensuring they were "first to the ball". The girls are beginning to realize that if they maintain constant pressure on the opponent's side of the field, goals are inevitable. The Husky defense played so well that our goalkeepers, Sydney Block and Taylor Hopkins had a combined total of one save for the entire game. Well done, ladies! The JV squad looks forward to competing in the Women's Soccer Showdown on their home field against Okemos, TC Central, and TC West on Saturday.
A special tip of the hat goes to Scott Ryder, center referee for the varsity match who officiated his 600th match tonight!
Has anyone seen my black folder? I take notes in it. Where in the heck is it? Hmmm? Did someone take my ink pen? Maybe it's in my car. Excuse me, where is your restroom? Ahh, that's better. Oh, and I'll take one coffee please. OK, now I am ready. WHAT?! It's the second half already?
You could tell from the second half huddle that a certain team was going to come out a tad bit sharper after falling behind 0-4. Six minutes in Cassie VanderSloot worked hard in the corner and sent a ball into the box that Breanne Bye headed to the foot of Casey Shauman. Casey's 3rd goal in as many games started the Husky game plan of scoring once every ten minutes of the second half to climb back in it. Northern did carry the play for most of the second half, the defense closed up, the offense pushed forward, and if not for their slow start, could have made the game very interesting. Northern scored again, but with just two minutes left, with Rachel Meyer crossing a ball into the box with Anna Stinson one-timing a ricochet off the cross bar and into the net. Now the new game plan was "we have to score two goals in two minutes" but E Kentwood played the ball into the corner and the game ended there.
Shots on goal in this game were pretty close: EK 8 - PN 6. The game ends 4-2; however a great effort in the second half is what the players can take into spring break. Don't forget the sunscreen and the soccer ball.
In the early game the JV looked very good as they played their way to a 3-0 victory over East Kentwood.
It's always exciting to go to play soccer on an artificial surface in a beautiful new stadium. It's sad when you get there and there's a track meet going on. "Oh, your game is over there, on the old grass field". It's like the classic line in Caddyshack "pool or pond yah, the pond's good for you". But the night was cool and clear at game time, a nice late March soccer evening.
Everyone contributed quality minutes in this game for Northern. Sophomore Sammy Kay knocked home the first two goals, the first seven minutes in on an assist from Casey Shauman, and the second halfway through the first half unassisted. Later in the half Erika Jansen sent a perfect 25 yard free kick into the box, where Krista Clancy headed the ball past the goalie. Vicksburg scored late in the half, when Northern goalie Sydney Block made a nice stop on a hard shot (Vicksburg's only shots on goal of the game), but a Bulldog pounced on the rebound and made the score 3-1 at the half.
The second half saw some quick scores by the Huskies, and saw some players get a little feisty, a bit chippy as the weather started turning frosty. A chop block here, a stiff arm there, a couple of ref warnings for a little too much lovin' going on. Northern scored three times in the first five minutes of the second half. The first came after statistician Blake Glass quietly suggested that Sam Kay send a pass over the top to a streaking Shauman. A second later, Kay sent a pass over the top to a streaking Shauman, who scored her second goal in as many games. Minutes later Shauman hit the bar with a shot, but Kallie Strazdas headed home the rebound for her first varsity score. Kallie nearly scored three more times, but hit hard shots directly into the goalie's midsection. Strazdas played an all-around great game. She assisted on the next goal with a fine cross that Rachel Meyer forced into the goal, along with an opponent. Meyer contributed on the next goal in strange fashion. After trying to swat away (aka, stiff arm) a very pesky, way too affectionate defender, she drew the yellow but provided Northern with a PK of its own at the same time. If you are scratching your head, you are not alone. Cassie VanderSloot ended the scoring by putting a perfect PK into the net.
This game provided action for every player, and none disappointed. Natalie McClish and Sam Pace controlled the ball and enforced the law. Brianna Melgar and Chantel LaDuke distributed many fine passes. Andrea Jones and Breanne Bye defended with their smart toughness. Melissa Trebing and Anna Stinson fired up fine passes. Laura Glass and Jansen both controlled their territory flawlessly. It was good TEAM victory. Northern fired off 26 shots, with 19 on goal.
Next up, East Kentwood Wednesday night: a beautiful stadium with artificial surface. This time, for sure, it's the pool and not the pond.
JV GAME SUMMARY: The JV squad dominated for most of the game finishing with a 2-1 victory over the Vicksburg Bulldogs. Eleven different players were accredited with 27 shots on goal, but only two were able to sneak between the posts. Megan Stanley's aggressiveness earned her both of the goals scored for the Huskies with one of them being set up by an assist from Danielle Salayer. The ladies did a great job running down the balls and keeping the offensive pressure on the Bulldog defense and their GK. Nikki Hartman had several breakaways and personally picked up 6 shots on goal while Ciara Pinho recorded 5 and Megan Stanley tallied 4 shots on goal. Our Goalkeeper, Taylor Hopkins only had the opportunity to save two shots! What a tribute to our defense! It was great to see the team play with such focus and enthusiasm. Kudos to the Huskies! We expect our winning ways to continue on Wednesday when the ladies take on East Kentwood on their home turf.
Portage Northern Women's Soccer ended last season one game shy of the state championship game. OK, now that we got that out of our system, let's start this new campaign one division higher, with the same great soccer, sportsmanship, parent pre-game huddles, awesome rivalries, the best P.A. announcers, diving saves, sweet goals, tough D, Chez Husky and the tastiest grillin' in town, Betty and Sharon, the Best Boosters, a new Crow's Nest, and perhaps some of the worst run-on sentences in game summaries in the state.
After four scrimmages to work the winter kinks out, the season opener finally arrived. The Husky field had a rough winter, and Athletic Director Chris Riker had to answer this question no less than 40 times: "when is the field going to be rolled?" But since both teams play on the same surface, all was fair. The Huskies attacked early, in the first few minutes, with Sam Kay working the ball into freshman Casey Shauman, who barely misfired on her first high school career attempt. But shortly thereafter, Shauman would not be denied. Soph Laura Glass sent in a perfect corner kick that Andrea Jones knocked to Casey, who drained her first career goal and the first goal of the season for the Huskies, at the six minute mark.
After the quick score, Northern settled in a little too quickly and BC Lakeview carried the play for about 15 minutes, working some free kicks and two of their three overall corners. One shot got behind Northern goalie Sydney Block but was swatted away by Shauman inches from the goal line.
Sophomore Block was in goal for her first varsity start ever, and gets to start her scrapbook with this headline: "Sydney Blocks all shots for first career shutout!" She is thankful for a defensive front that bent only for a few minutes during the game, but didn't break. Freshman Breanne Bye, Glass, Jones, Natalie McClish, and Erika Jansen all performed well in the back, with appreciated help from the midfielders.
Lakeview again pressured the Husky goal the first ten minutes of the second half, but Northern then started to control the game a little more and finished the final 15 minutes in strong Husky fashion. Finally with six minutes left the Huskies added an insurance goal, with AJ Andrea Jones hey isn't she a defender getting her second assist of the game by lofting a ball into a small pack ten yards out in front of the goal, where Anna Stinson corralled it and spun between two defenders to slip the ball by the Lakeview goalie.
Huskies finish with 12 shots, 8 on goal, with 6 corners, while holding Lakeview to 4 shots with one on goal.
Northern plays twice next week on artificial surfaces (Monday at Vicksburg; Wed at E. Kentwood), with the next home game not until April 15 (CPA's get in free that game). This will give the Husky pitch time to heal and grow, and, will it be rolled by then?
JV GAME SUMMARY: While weathering the cold for the first game of the season, our JV Huskies came up just short in a 2-1 loss to Lakeview Spartans. Our Goalkeeper, Taylor Hopkins did an awesome job recording 4 saves and the Husky offense took credit for 7 shots on goal: 2 by Chelsea Carpentier and one each by Erin Prior, Danielle Hirsch, Ciara Pinho, Danielle Melgar and Megan Stanley. Danielle Melgar kept the Spartan defense on their heels as she continually pressured the ball into scoring territory. Our team out-hustled the Spartans, but found it difficult to get a quality shot on goal. Jenna Long and Lauren Barlow kicked up their defensive finesse running down balls and keeping the Huskies in the game for the entire 70 minutes. Ciara Pinho has a personal vendetta against shutouts, so with five minutes left in the game she powered in the lone goal for the Huskies. We're all expecting a major rebound when the ladies play Monday, 3-30 in Vicksburg.
DATES TO REMEMBER-
Youth Night is Wednesday April 22 (youth grades K-6 wearing soccer jersey will get in free)
Saturday May 2 is dinner at Carrabbas from 12-2:00 (takeout until 3:00); see Margie or Ed Stinson for tickets.
Senior Night is Thursday May 7
Car Wash is Saturday May 16 (Jeff Jones will coordinate; helpers will be needed)
Banquet is Tuesday June 16
Thanks much to Ed Stinson for writing the varsity game summaries, and Dave Pinho for the JV game summaries..
To see action photos from games last spring, click here
To see photos of the visit to Toyota Park, click here
To visit last year's web site, click here