Monthly Archives: August, 2017

RECAP: #17 Mattawan Sweeps #5 Portage Central

Digital CameraThe #17 Mattawan Wildcats downed the #5 Portage Central Mustangs 3-0 Wednesday (25-14, 25-22, 25-18), avenging the season-ending district final loss in their last meeting.   Unofficially, Taylor Rutgers topped Mattawan with 13 kills, followed by 11 by Natalie Foster.  Ryann Jaqua’s eight led Portage Central.

The first set was tight early, but Mattawan outscored Portage Central 10-2 down the stretch to claim a 25-14 win.   The Mustangs started the second set on a 7-1 run, then saw their lead erased immediately by a 7-0 Wildcat run en route to a 25-22 second set final.   Mattawan held control throughout much of the third and delighted the home crowd with a 25-18 third set final.

Mattawan improves to 9-2 on the young season, while Portage Central falls to 4-4.  Both teams return to varsity play in the Portage Central mini invite on Tuesday.   Listen back to Wednesday’s match below.

RECAP: #13 Grand Rapids Spoils Kalamazoo Valley’s Home Opener

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Defending MCCAA champion Grand Rapids defeated Kalamazoo Valley Tuesday evening in three sets (25-16, 25-13, 25-21).   The Cougars began set #1 with a 5-1 run, but the 13th-ranked Raiders responded with a 6-0 run and very rarely trailed for the remainder of the match.

Kalamazoo Valley falls to 0-2 with the defeat.  They travel to conference foe Muskegon Thursday, then go to the Owens CC classic over the weekend.   Grand Rapids moves to 3-0 and has tournament action Friday and Saturday in Toledo, Ohio, including meetings with top-ranked Parkland and fourth-ranked Catawba Valley.

Listen back to Tuesday’s match below:

PREVIEW: K Men’s Soccer Opens Saturday Versus Millikin

9-2 soccerListen live online Saturday at 5 p.m. Eastern on the Slocum Sports Network to men’s soccer as the Kalamazoo College Hornets host the Millikin University Big Blue.  It’s the first ever meeting between the two and will be the season opener for the Hornets.  It will be match number two for Decatur, Illinois based Millikin, as they open at Alma Friday.

Kalamazoo finished 6-6-5 last season, allowing only 16 goals while scoring 15.  Head coach Lumumba Shabazz returns for his sixth season at the helm and must replace all three of last season’s All-MIAA selections.

Millikin finished 8-7-2 in 2016, scoring 36 goals while allowing 31.   Chad Jones returns for his seventh year coaching the Big Blue.

Listen live on the Slocum Sports Network with kickoff set at 5 p.m. Eastern Time Saturday from Mackenzie Field.  You can also watch the action via the Kalamazoo College Livestream.

RECAP: Kalamazoo Central Rolls By Lakeview 6-1

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Kalamazoo Central huddles prior to the second half.

The Kalamazoo Central Maroon Giants flattened the Lakeview Spartans in Battle Creek  Monday, 6-1.  K-Central needed only 3:03 to score the game’s opening goal, as Paulo Alcala put it in off a Nickolai Vargas corner.

Midway through the first, Breven Brill pushed the lead to 2-0.   The Spartans had four corner kicks in the final ten minutes of the first half, but couldn’t convert.   With 2:53 before halftime, freshman Ben Stafford took off and scored his team-leading sixth goal of the season for a 3-0 advantage at the break.

Lakeview found some hope on a Skyler Sebring score just over two minutes into the second.   However, the Maroon Giants held them from there and added three more goals for good measure.  Midway through the second, Vargas scored.   In the 75th minute, Brill added his second of the game and less than a minute later, Terry Neuchterlein capped off the evening with the team’s sixth goal.

The win pushes Kalamazoo Central to 3-2 on the young season and gives them a win in their first match against a SMAC foe.   They host another SMAC opponent, Lakeshore, on Wednesday.   Lakeview drops to 1-2 and gets right back at it Tuesday at St. Joseph.

Listen back to Monday’s game below:

PREVIEW: Kalamazoo United Visits Gobles For Week 2 Meeting

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Listen live online Thursday around 7 p.m. on the Slocum Sports Network to a Southwestern Athletic Conference (SAC) Valley versus Lakeshore division football contest.   The Gobles Tigers will be hosting the Kalamazoo United Titans for week two, moving up what had been a week eight contest the past two seasons.

These squads had polar opposite starts to their season last Thursday.   United, 4-5 last season, avenged a 44-point loss from 2016 by downing Saugatuck 34-21.   Saugatuck stream-rolled their regular season foes last year, including a five-week shutout streak, en route to a 10-1 final record.

Gobles, 8-3 last season, opened Thursday at Coloma (3-6 last year) and lost 61-8 in a stark departure from the 23 and 35-point victories the Tigers earned over Coloma in 2016 and 2015.    Last season, Gobles outraced United to a 56-35 victory in the second-ever meeting between the Tigers and the Hackett/Kalamazoo Christian co-op team.  Their first meeting in 2015 went to the Titans 46-29.   Historically, Gobles is 11-4 against Kalamazoo Christian and never played against Hackett alone.

The Tigers return first-team SAC Central selection Travis Chandler and honorable mentions Andrew Kimble and Ron DeVries.  The Titans bring back first-team SAC Lakeshore Eric Wenzel along with honorable mention Brenden Warner.

Listen online live to Thursday’s game on the Slocum Sports Network with kickoff around 7 p.m..  Due to a JV contest prior to varsity, the game may begin later than 7.

PREVIEW: Top 15 Squads Collide as Mattawan Hosts Portage Central

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Listen live online Wednesday around 6:30 p.m. on the Slocum Sports Network to high school volleyball between the Mattawan Wildcats and Portage Central Mustangs.  It’s the first meeting this season between the SMAC rivals and their first meeting since Portage Central’s four-set victory in the 2016 district finals.   The Mustangs made it as far as the quarterfinal last season, falling in five-sets to Rockford.

In the initial Class A poll by Michigan High School Volleyball Insider, Portage Central is ranked sixth and Mattawan is 14th.   The Wildcats opened their season going 5-0 at the Grand Haven tournament, while the Mustangs went 3-2 in their home tournament.   Last season, Portage Central won all four meetings against Mattawan.   The last Wildcat win came in the 2015 district final, with Mattawan similarly advancing as far as the quarterfinals.

The Wildcats return honorable mention All-State and All-SMAC East first-teamer Allie Wiese at libero, along with honorable mention All-SMAC mid Natalie Foster, both back for their sophomore seasons.   The Mustangs return first-team All-State and All-SMAC outside hitter Ryann Jaqua for her junior campaign.

Listen live to Wednesday’s match on the Slocum Sports Network with the varsity match set for around 6:30 p.m., pending the JV result.


PREVIEW: Kalamazoo Valley Home Opener Against MCCAA Champ Grand Rapids

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Listen live online Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. on the Slocum Sports Network to college volleyball with the Kalamazoo Valley Cougars hosting the Grand Rapids Raiders.   It’s the first home match of the year for the Cougars and perhaps one of their toughest matches all season against the defending Michigan Community College Athletic Association (MCCAA) champions.

Kalamazoo Valley finished 14-12 overall last season and sixth in the MCCAA Western Conference at 6-10.   Grand Rapids was a perfect 16-0 in the Western Conference and 28-8 overall, earning a trip to the NJCAA national tournament.    Last September, the Cougars were able to take the second set of their match in Grand Rapids, but fell in four to the Raiders (25-22,18-25,15-25,16-25).    The Raiders swept KVCC in their October rematch (25-14, 25-19, 25-11).

Kalamazoo Valley dropped their 2017 opener in three sets Thursday at Glen Oaks.   Grand Rapids, ranked 13th in the NJCAA Division II preseason poll, is off to a 2-0 start with wins last week over Glen Oaks and Lansing.

Listen live to Tuesday’s match on the Slocum Sports Network with first serve scheduled for 6:30 p.m. from Texas Township.

PREVIEW: Lakeview Hosts Kalamazoo Central in SMAC East Match

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Listen live online Monday around 6:30 p.m. on the Slocum Sports Network to high school boys soccer with the Lakeview Spartans hosting the Kalamazoo Central Maroon Giants.   It will be the first Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference (SMAC) and East division match for both squads.

The last two meetings between these schools were decided by one goal.   Last season, Lakeview earned a 2-1 road victory.   In 2015, the Maroon Giants grabbed a 3-2 win in Battle Creek.

Kalamazoo Central returns both of their 1st-team All-SMAC East selections from 2016.  Ryan Halloran is back for his senior campaign with Paulo Alcala set for his sophomore year.  The Maroon Giants also return honorable mention Dailon Brown, who is splitting team captain duties with Halloran.    Lakeview returns one of their four 2016 1st-team players with senior defender Patrick Thang, along with honorable mention choice Chris Singh.

Listen live Monday on the Slocum Sports Network with kickoff scheduled for around 6:30 p.m.

RECAP: Harper Creek Survives at Gull Lake Off INT TDs

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Dom Gibson (#21) scored both Harper Creek touchdowns Friday via interception returns

Despite getting shutout offensively, the Harper Creek Beavers edged the Gull Lake Blue Devils 15-14 in their season opener from Richland.   Two interception touchdowns from senior cornerback Dom Gibson, plus a fourth quarter blocked extra point, allowed the Beavers to sneak by.

Gibson started the Beaver scoring on Gull Lake’s opening drive, intercepting a fourth down pass in the end zone and returning it 102 yards.  In the second quarter, the Blue Devils held possession for nearly 11 minutes between two drives, capping off a 72-yard drive with 7:18 remaining on a two-yard Thomas Vandermolen run.  Gull Lake aggressively went for the two-point conversion and succeeded on a pass from Hunter Synder to Niner Stark, giving them an 8-7 lead which held into halftime.

After trading punts to start the third, Gibson intercepted Synder again, this time going 40 yards for the score.  Harper Creek went for two and matched Gull Lake’s success, with Jackson Malone passing to Jon Taylor.   Gull Lake’s next drive went seven minutes and 13 plays with two successful fourth-down conversions.   However, their third try was denied, stopping them 18 yards from the end zone.

The Blue Devil defense continued to hold Harper Creek and forced a quick punt, but Gull Lake punted right back midway through the fourth quarter.  The Beavers then committed their lone turnover on a fumble, recovered to the Beaver 25-yard line by John Volesky.

With 5:28 remaining, Snyder found Stark in the end zone for a 23-yard Gull Lake touchdown pass.   Tanner Novak’s extra-point kick was blocked by linebacker Dakota Walbeck, which ultimately gave Harper Creek the one-point victory.    The Beaver run game came alive on the final drive, getting four first downs to run out the remaining time for the 15-14 win.

Unofficially, Gull Lake out-gained Harper Creek offensively 207 to 133.  Hunter Synder went 8-17 for 105 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions.   Volesky led all rushers with 56 yards.  Beaver quarterback Jackson Malone and halfback Dawson Barlett each had 53 rushing.

Harper Creek begins Interstate 8 Conference play on Thursday with a trip to Jackson Northwest.   Gull Lake hosts Portage Northern Thursday for a SMAC East vs West contest.   Listen back to Friday’s game below:

RECAP: 4th Quarter Rally Pushes Vicksburg Past Dowagiac 38-27

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The Vicksburg Bulldogs used a 21-0 fourth quarter to erase a 10-point hole and defeat the Dowagiac Chieftains 38-27 Thursday night.   The home and season-opening win gives Vicksburg three consecutive victories over Dowagiac.

Vicksburg scored first, traveling 62 yards on their opening drive for a 20-yard Caleb Welch touchdown run.  After trading punts, Vicksburg got a fumble recovery by Austin Bresnahan at their own 26-yard line.   The Bulldogs would punt again and Dowagiac’s Caleb Murphy would take the punt to the end zone from 72 yards out with two seconds remaining in the first quarter, tying the game at 7-7.

Dowagiac claimed the lead for the first time midway through the second as Murphy intercepted Garrett Ketelaar and went 32 yards to the house.  Vicksburg responded on the following drive and evened the game at 14-14 with a 28-yard touchdown pass from Ketelaar to Ryan Morgan.

Dowagiac punted, but got the ball back with 55 seconds left off a pick from Andrew McIntosh.   They used 51 seconds to go 74 yards, grabbing a 21-14 lead into halftime off a 27-yard touchdown pass from Brenden Dudley to Jamin Hunt.  The Chieftains also started the third quarter with the ball, but Vicksburg’s defense forced a three-and-out.

A 10-play, four-and-a-half minute drive culminated in a 32-yard Joe Brady field goal, putting Vicksburg within four, 21-17.   The next Dowagiac drive went 65 yards, with 51 yards and a six-yard touchdown run coming from Murphy.   The extra point was blocked, putting the score at 27-17 with 4:10 remaining in the third.

After trading punts, Vicksburg got back within three, thanks to a 34-yard touchdown pass from Ketelaar to Adam Henderson with 10:38 left.  The Bulldog D forced another punt and with 8:13 remaining, DJ Bullock blocked Dudley’s punt, setting up a four-yard touchdown recovery for Shane Earl and a 31-27 Vicksburg lead.

Vicksburg forced another three-and-out, then punched into the end zone on a three-yard Ketelaar rush, which put him over 200 yards on the ground, with 5:01 on the clock for a 38-27 advantage.  Dowagiac’s last drive ended in a turnover on downs, allowing the Bulldogs to drain the clock shortly after.

Unofficially, Ketelaar finished with 219 rushing yards on 31 attempts with one rushing touchdown, along with 79 pass yards and two scores.  Dudley had 125 passing yards, going 11-24.

Next Thursday, Vicksburg travels to Allegan.   Dowagiac has their home opener Thursday against Three Rivers.   Listen back to Thursday’s game below: