The Plainwell Trojans and Gull Lake Blue Devils won their District 18 semifinal games Wednesday at Richland, pushing them into Saturday’s final. Ninth-ranked Plainwell survived a late rally for a 3-2 win over the Otsego Bulldogs. Gull Lake easily dispatched Harper Creek 5-1.
In the first game, Plainwell grabbed the lead in the fourth minute with Luke Morrell scoring off a Zakary Termeer throw in. Termeer would score himself midway through the first and the Trojans carried a 2-0 lead into halftime.
Plainwell dominated possession for the first 55 minutes, but Otsego goalkeeper Jayden Dentler made numerous great saves to keep Plainwell at two. He unofficially had 19 saves for the match. In the 59th minute, Josh Loll was able to tip the ball into the goal for Otsego and about five minutes later, Jace Engels did the same to tie the game at 2-2.
They traded chances the rest of the way. In the final minute, a wild sequence led to a controversial penalty kick call for Plainwell with 34 seconds remaining. Dentler had come out to make an initial save, but found himself out of the net trying to track the ball down. Plainwell’s rebound shot was blocked by a defender at the goal line, followed by a Trojan down with a brief injury. Following the injury stoppage, the penalty kick was awarded and Morrell put it by Dentler for the game winning goal. It’s unclear if the violation was a foul or handling to prompt the PK.
Listen back to the final moments of the game below:
Plainwell moves to 17-3-3 with Otsego finishing the season at 11-8-0. In the second game, Gull Lake dominated throughout, taking a 4-0 lead into halftime. Two goals came from Miles Renwick, one from Zach Reed, and another off a deflection by someone on a Jack Hirzel corner kick. JD Schroeder had Gull Lake’s second half goal with Harper Creek’s score coming on a Archie Hantz penalty kick.
Harper Creek finishes the season at 3-13-3 with Gull Lake improving to 10-8-1 overall and 8-2-1 on their home turf. The Blue Devils host Plainwell in the District 18 final Saturday at 5 p.m. Listen back to the full broadcasts from Wednesday below:
PLAINWELL VS OTSEGO
GULL LAKE VS HARPER CREEK
Listen live online Wednesday evening on the Slocum Sports Network to the District 18 boys soccer semifinals from Gull Lake High School. The first game, set for a 5:30 p.m. kickoff, features Wolverine Conference rivals Plainwell and Otsego. The second game to follow around 7:30ish has the host Gull Lake against Harper Creek.
The Plainwell Trojans are the district favorite by overall record (16-3-3) and are ranked ninth in the final Coaches Association Division 2 poll. The Trojans have claimed the district title in three consecutive seasons and defeated Otsego 3-0 in last year’s district final. The Trojans opened district play Monday with a 3-1 victory against Hastings.
The Otsego Bulldogs are 10-7-0 and defeated Battle Creek Central 2-0 in their first round match. Otsego is 6-2-0 in their last eight matches, including a tight 1-0 loss at Plainwell in their regular season finale Thursday. They will have to slay a nemesis, as this class of seniors at Otsego has never defeated Plainwell in soccer.
In the second match, the hosting Gull Lake Blue Devils are 9-8-1 overall and hold a 7-2-1 mark on their home turf. Gull Lake defeated Allegan 3-0 in their first round match and are on a three-game winning streak, including a victory over Division 4 #4 Hackett Catholic.
Harper Creek sits at 3-12-3 overall. The Beavers have already pulled off one upset, defeating Pennfield (who finished 10-8-1) Monday 3-2, despite having fallen to the Panthers twice in the regular season. Harper Creek and Gull Lake have not met this season.
Listen live to both semifinal matches online via the Slocum Sports Network Wednesday. Plainwell vs Otsego is set for 5:30 p.m. with Gull Lake and Harper Creek to follow from Richland.
The Gull Lake Blue Devils ended the regular season with a big 5-2 home victory over the Hackett Catholic Irish, giving the second-ranked team in Division 4 their first and only regular season loss. Gull Lake scored first on a beautiful upper corner free kick from Miles Renwick about eight minutes in. Hackett was able to even the contest at 1-1 into halftime, thanks to a Max Keenan score in the 26th minute.
The Blue Devils took control and dominated the possession in the second half. Roni Sylejmani put Gull Lake back ahead in the 46th minute. Three minutes later, Trent Grant made it 3-1. Grant scored again midway through the period off a corner kick. Hackett’s Brennan Creek added a goal with 7:18 remaining, but Gull Lake sealed the victory on a JD Schroeder header in the final two minutes.
Gull Lake finishes the regular season at 8-8-1, while Hackett ends at 14-1-3. The Irish enter District 52 at Bellevue next week, hosting their opening round game Monday against Lakeside. Gull Lake hosts District 18 and opens Monday against Allegan.
Listen back to Wednesday’s match below:
Listen live online Wednesday at 6 p.m. on the Slocum Sports Network as the Gull Lake Blue Devils host the Hackett Catholic Irish in boys soccer. It will be the regular season finale for both teams and serve as one last solid test prior to the postseason.
Hackett moved up to the #2 spot in the latest Division 4 Coaches Association poll, their highest mark of the season. At 14-0-3, the Irish secured the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SAC) title with a 4-1 win over Fennville Monday, giving them a perfect 8-0-0 mark against league foes.
Gull Lake sits at 7-8-1 overall, finishing 5-4-1 and sixth in the regular season in a very tough Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference (SMAC). They won the seventh place tournament game Tuesday over Loy Norrix, snapping a three-game skid. The Blue Devils have had some strong showings, including victories over Kalamazoo Central and Lakeshore (third and fourth in the SMAC), and a draw with SMAC champion Portage Central two weeks ago.
The Mattawan Wildcats defeated the Gull Lake Blue Devils Wednesday evening in three sets, 25-20, 25-22, 25-22. In each set, Gull Lake had an early lead, but the Wildcats rallied back midway through each time. The win starts Mattawan at 1-0 in SMAC East division play and starts Gull Lake at 0-1.
Unofficially, Taylor Rutgers led the Wildcats with 12 kills, closely followed by Natalie Foster with 11. Gull Lake’s Kenzy Cortstange added 12 of her own. Mattawan is 20-3 overall with Gull Lake at 20-6-1.
The Wildcats return to action Thursday at the Rockford meet, followed by a SMAC East home match next Wednesday with Lakeview. Gull Lake goes to the Holt Invitational Saturday, then heads to Loy Norrix Wednesday for league play.
Listen back to Wednesday’s match below:
Listen live online Wednesday night on the Slocum Sports Network to high school volleyball as the Gull Lake Blue Devils host the Mattawan Wildcats. It’s the second time these teams have met in 2017, as Mattawan took a tight 2-1 win two weeks ago in the Portage Central mini tournament. Recent history has also favored Mattawan, as Gull Lake last defeated the Wildcats in the 2012 SMAC tournament.
It is also the first division match of 2017 in a very tough SMAC East, which also boasts the impressive Kalamazoo Central and Lakeview squads, along with a much improved Loy Norrix. Mattawan enters Wednesday at 19-3 overall with Gull Lake at 17-5-1.
Both Gull Lake and Mattawan have received statewide attention for their success. In the newest Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association poll, Mattawan is ninth best in Class A with Gull Lake earning a honorable mention. In the latest rankings by Michigan High School Volleyball Insider, Gull Lake is 11th best in Class A, one spot better than 12th-ranked Mattawan.
Listen live online to Wednesday’s match on the Slocum Sports Network with the start time between 6:30 to 7 p.m., depending on the length of the prior JV contest.
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:
Listen live online Friday on the Slocum Sports Network as the Gull Lake Blue Devils host the Harper Creek Beavers. These schools opened against each other last season as well, with the Beavers winning at home, 39-10.
Harper Creek finished 6-1 in the Interstate 8 Conference last year, including a 24-14 win over eventual Division 6 state champion Lumen Christi. Their lone conference loss, and one of two regular season losses, came to Coldwater 19-7. The Cardinals got the better of the Beavers again three weeks later in the Pre-District round 35-14, ending Harper Creek’s season at 7-3. Seven Beavers were named to the Battle Creek Enquirer’s All-City team with three back for 2017; Dawson Barlett (RB/LB/DB), Dakota Walbeck (LB), and Jon Taylor (TE/LB).
Gull Lake finished 2-7 overall last season with a 2-3 mark in the SMAC East division. Nine Blue Devils earned SMAC East honors and four of those players are back for 2017. Making first-team were Kaleb Clous (OL), Niner Stark (DB), and Thomas VanderMolen (WR) with Hunter Snyder (QB) on the second-team. Gull Lake also has a new coach for 2017 in Ryan Gallogly.
In addition to last season’s win, Harper Creek also defeated Gull Lake in 2013 and 2012. Prior to those meetings, they had not faced off since 1973. According to Michigan-Football.com, Harper Creek holds a 7-2-1 record against Gull Lake, with the last Blue Devil victory coming in 1969.
The Portage Central Mustangs grabbed two victories over the Gull Lake Blue Devils Thursday, winning 12-2 and 4-2, both in five inning games. The wins end a four-game losing streak for the Mustangs and puts them at 9-6 overall. Gull Lake drops to 7-9 on the season.
Gull Lake had a brief lead in game one, starting the first inning with a Trenton Quartermaine sacrifice fly to bring in Justin Mansager. The Mustang offense exploded in the bottom of the first, scoring five runs, highlighted by a Justin McIntyre two-run home run and a solo bomb by Max Longman. McIntyre sent another one deep for a one-run second inning. The Blue Devils got another sac fly in the third, but Portage Central scored thrice in the third and fourth innings to invoke the run rule after five.
McIntyre finished with four runs, two homers, and three RBI. Austin Hirdning pitched the entire game for Portage Central, allowing five hits and two runs with seven strikeouts and two walks.
In the second game, Gull Lake again scored in the top of the first. After loading the bases with no outs, the Blue Devils only scored once on a sacrifice fly, again with Quartermaine scoring Mansager. Portage Central used two hits and a walk to plate two runners in the bottom of the frame and added two more in the third. Gull Lake scored one in the fourth and loaded the bases up again in the fifth inning, but they failed to bring them home and the game was called after five due to impending darkness.
Nick Kolberg pitched all five innings for the Mustangs, allowing two runs and five hits with three strikeouts and three walks. Cade Stanton pitched all four for Gull Lake, allowing five hits and four runs with two walks and four strikeouts. Offensively, Longman had two hits, two RBI, and a run. McIntyre scored twice off a single and walk.
Portage Central returns to action Tuesday at Vicksburg, which can be heard on the Slocum Sports Network with a doubleheader starting at 4 p.m. Gull Lake is back at it with a trip to Pennfield Saturday starting at 10 a.m.
Listen back to Thursday’s games below:
Listen live Thursday afternoon on the Slocum Sports Network to a high school baseball doubleheader with the Portage Central Mustangs hosting the Gull Lake Blue Devils. Game one is scheduled for a 4 p.m. ET first pitch.
Portage Central is 7-6 overall, trying to snap a four-game losing streak. They’ve faced strong opposition over the last week, losing Tuesday 4-2 and 11-2 against Lakeshore (#12 in Division 2), and Saturday 7-1 to Vicksburg (#6 in D2) and 4-0 to Hackett Catholic (#4 in D4). Prior to the four-game losing streak, the Mustangs had a five-game win streak, including two wins Friday over Coldwater (8-4, 5-2).
Gull Lake is 7-7 overall, most recently splitting with Mattawan Tuesday (6-5 win, 13-1 loss). The previous week, the Blue Devils lost two tight games at Portage Northern (#15 in D1) 7-3 and 4-3.
Listen to Thursday’s games live on the Slocum Sports Network with game one set for a 4 p.m. start at Portage Central.