Category Archives: Mattawan Wildcats

PREVIEW: SMAC Volleyball Rivals Collide to Start District Tournament

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Listen live online Monday evening on the Slocum Sports Network to the first round District #1 volleyball matches from Kalamazoo Central High School.   The first match, set for 5:30 p.m., features the Mattawan Wildcats against the Portage Northern Huskies.   The match to follow has the hosting Kalamazoo Central Maroon Giants and Portage Central Mustangs.   All four SMAC members enter with winning records and strong programs.

Mattawan enters as the favorite coming off Saturday’s SMAC tournament championship, defeating Portage Central in the final match.   At 33-7 according to Maxpreps, the Wildcats received a honorable mention in last week’s Class A Coaches Association poll and have been in the top ten at other points in the season.    Mattawan was eliminated by Portage Central in last season’s district tournament.  Two seasons ago, the Wildcats made it to the quarterfinal for the first time in program history.

Portage Northern entered last weekend at 26-21 and has significantly improved from their recent down seasons.   The Huskies are looking for their first postseason victory since 2010.   They were knocked out in last year’s district tournament by Portage Central.   The last Portage Northern district championship came in 2007, with a trip to the quarterfinal that season.   The Huskies were once a Class A powerhouse, winning 10 state championships in the 1980s and 90s.

Portage Central entered last weekend at 26-14 and is the defending district champion, getting as far the quarterfinal last season where they fell to Class A runner-up Rockford in five sets.   The Mustang senior class is looking to claim their third district title in their four seasons.  The school’s deepest run was a runner-up finish in 2009.

Kalamazoo Central took a 30-13-1 mark into the weekend and were knocked out by Niles in last season’s district tournament.   Their last postseason victory came in 2013 with their most recent district championship in 2002.   The Maroon Giants’ deepest run was a state title in 1996.

Monday’s winners move to Wednesday’s district semifinals.   The Mattawan/Portage Northern winner plays Lakeshore (4-23-1) at 5:30 p.m. with the Portage Central/Kalamazoo Central winner meeting St. Joseph (15-23-0) in the following match.   The district championship is Thursday at 6 p.m. with all of the matches at Kalamazoo Central.

You can listen to Monday’s first round matches, as well as Thursday’s district championship, live online via the Slocum Sports Network.   The action begins Monday at 5:30 p.m. between Mattawan and Portage Northern with the Portage Central and Kalamazoo Central match to follow.   The bracket can be found here via MHSAA.

RECAP: #9 Mattawan Earns Tight Road Sweep Over #11 Gull Lake

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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:

PREVIEW: Top 15 Teams Meet as Gull Lake Hosts Mattawan in SMAC East Opener

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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.

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.

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.


RECAP: Hackett & Mattawan Play to Scoreless Draw

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Defense ruled the evening Monday in Kalamazoo as the Hackett Catholic Irish snapped their losing streak against the Mattawan Wildcats, forcing a scoreless draw against the defending state champions.

The game stayed fairly even throughout with Mattawan getting a few more looks in the first half.   Hackett had more chances early in the second and had perhaps the best chance of all with around six minutes remaining.   Brennan Creek nearly had a breakaway, but was fouled from behind, prompting a red card.   From just in front of the arc, Creek’s free kick went over the net.

Mattawan had a couple of close looks in the final two minutes, including a corner kick, but the Irish held firm.   Hackett sophomore Breyton Franklin and Mattawan junior Brad Kolinski both ended up with clean sheets in net.

Mattawan moves to 1-0-2 with the draw and returns to action Saturday in the Eaton Rapids Invite from East Lansing.   The Irish start at 0-0-1 and face another defending state champion Wednesday at Grand Rapids Catholic Central.

Listen back to Monday’s contest below:

PREVIEW: Defending Division 2 Champ Mattawan Opens at Division 4 Semifinalist Hackett

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Listen live Monday on the Slocum Sports Network at 6:45 p.m. to a marquee boys soccer match with the Hackett Catholic Irish hosting the Mattawan Wildcats.   The game serves as a big early-season test for both programs, which have advanced to the final four in their division in back-to-back years.

Mattawan is the defending Division 2 state champion, finishing 22-2-4 last season en route to the school’s first boys soccer title.  They graduated top scorer Jarrett Hageman and goalkeeper Casey Kirkbride, while returning All-State honorable mention midfielder Evan Marquess.

Hackett made it to the Division 4 semifinals in 2016 and was the state runner-up in 2015.   The Irish were 16-5-1 last season and lose First-Team All-State midfielder James Amat and Third-Team keeper Matthew Carpenter.   However, Hackett returns two All-State selections for their junior seasons in Second-Team midfielder Brennan Creek and Third-Team forward Max Keenan.   They also bring back honorable mention defender Jacob Wurtz for his senior campaign.

Mattawan hosted and won against Hackett 3-1 last season.  Although Hackett has given the Wildcats some tight battles, Mattawan has controlled the series with 6-1, 2-1, 2-0, 1-0 victories over the last five years.

Listen live Monday on the Slocum Sports Network with kickoff set for 6:45 p.m. from Mayors’ Riverfront Park in Kalamazoo.

RECAP: Mattawan Wins 9-1 at Loy Norrix, Second Game Ends in 2-2 Tie

The Mattawan Wildcats earned a 9-1 baseball win at Loy Norrix High School, then played the Knights to a 2-2 draw in a darkness-shortened second game.   Mattawan moves to 11-7-1 overall following the doubleheader, with Loy Norrix moving to 9-9-1 on the year.

The first game stayed tight early, with the only run of the first five innings coming in the top of the first from Mattawan.   The Wildcats came alive offensively with three runs in the sixth and five in the seventh, with the lone Knight run in the sixth.   Jake Carroll went six innings on the mound for Mattawan, allowing two hits, one run, and seven walks with four strikeouts.  Offensively, Carroll had three hits, one RBI, and got two runs scored by his courtesy runner Joe McNulty.  James Rinehart started for Loy Norrix, giving up three runs, five hits, and five walks over five innings.

The second game only went five innings due to darkness.   Mattawan again scored a single run in the first inning, followed by both teams getting a run in the second.  Loy Norrix scored to tie the game in the fourth.   Noel Cavey pitched all five innings for the Knights, going up two runs earned over three hits, four walks, and six strikeouts.  Ryan Koning pitched four of five innings for Mattawan, giving up two runs earned and three hits with three walks and five strikeouts.

Mattawan returns to action hosting Division 1 6th-ranked Battle Creek Lakeview Thursday.   Loy Norrix travels Friday to Berrien Springs.

Listen back to Tuesday’s games below:



RECAP: Kalamazoo United Wins First Ever Tournament Championship

Kalamazoo United added a Southwest Michigan High School Hockey League (SWMHSHL) tournament championship to their accolades Saturday, defeating last season’s champion Mattawan 3-2.  It’s first ever tournament title for United, added with their first ever regular season crown grabbed earlier this month.

The lone goal of the first period came with 3:02 remaining when Noel Cavey put it in on the powerplay, giving United a 1-0 lead.   Mattawan killed off a five minute boarding major midway through the second period, but right after the penalty, defenseman Eric Smith tallied his first goal of the season for a two-goal United advantage.   That advantage lasted all of seven seconds as Ben Berkowitz took off after the faceoff and buried it to put the score at 2-1 into the second break.

United regained a two-goal lead with 14:48 left in the third period on a score by Dominic Monendo and held the two-goal advantage into the final two minutes.   With the goalie pulled, Ben Berkowitz put the Wildcats back within one with 1:24 remaining.   However, KU goal Mitch Kihm held firm and delivered the tournament title to United.   Jacob Remelius had two assists for United, Jake Kruzich grabbed two assists for Mattawan.

United moves to 21-1-1 overall with Mattawan dropping to 11-11-2.  Both teams have one week of regular season play prior to state tournament play.   United travels to Northview Wednesday night, then hosts a very strong Gabriel Richard squad Saturday at 1:30.   Mattawan ends their regular season Saturday at home at 6 p.m. versus Grandville.

Listen back to the tournament championship below.    In consolation games Saturday, Portage Central beat Portage Northern 6-3 and the Kalamazoo Eagles downed the Southwest Michigan Blades 3-1.

Following the game, season awards were given out with KU well represented.   Cavey and Remelius split the league MVP award with Kihm earning goalie of the year.   Coach of the year went to Tyler Eddy of the Blades.   All-league teams are below:

1st-Team All-League
G- Mitch Kihm (Kalamazoo United)
D- David Kiel (Kalamazoo Eagles)
D- Jacob Remelius (Kalamzoo United)
F- Noel Cavey (Kalamazoo United)
F- Jeff Kirkendall (Mattawan)
F- Max Mones (Portage Central)

2nd-Team All-League
G- Zac Hattan (SWM Blades)
D- Brad Kolinski (Mattawan)
D- Kobe Vincent (Portage Central)
F- Evan Wilson (SWM Blades)
F- Ben Berkowitz (Mattawan)
F- Quentin Cerutti (Kalamazoo United)

PREVIEW: Kalamazoo United Meets Mattawan for SWMHSHL Tournament Title

hockey-2-18After going to overtime in both of their regular season meetings, Kalamazoo United and Mattawan will meet Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on the Slocum Sports Network for the Southwest Michigan High School Hockey League (SWMHSHL) tournament championship at Wings West.

United claimed the regular season title this season for the first time in program history off a 9-1 league record.   Sitting at 20-1-1 overall, they will try to add their first ever tournament title to their accomplishments.

For Mattawan, they are the defending tournament champion having beaten Portage Central 4-3 for last year’s crown.   The Wildcats have taken the tournament title in three of the previous four seasons.  They took second in the standings this season at 6-3-1 and hold an overall mark of 11-10-2.

These teams met one week ago with United taking a 3-2 overtime win.  United started ahead 2-0, but Mattawan tied the game in the second period.   It remained deadlocked until Noel Cavey ended it on a powerplay goal in OT.   Their first meeting of the season on November 23 had a similar result, ending 5-4 in OT in favor of United.   United held a 4-1 lead entering the third period, but Mattawan tied it by the end of the third.   Like the second game, it was Cavey with the overtime winner.

Listen to Saturday’s tournament championship live on the Slocum Sports Network with puck drop scheduled for 6:30 p.m.