Portage Northern fended off a barrage from Mattawan Saturday evening for a 1-0 home win. Husky senior goalkeeper Austin Freemire unofficially made 11 saves an impressive effort, keeping PN in the top third of the SMAC standings.
The Wildcats controlled the first half, outshooting the Huskies 24-4 overall and 8-1 on goal. Despite that and five corner kicks, Portage Northern kept the shutout intact. PN was able to limit Mattawan much more with only five shots allowed and three on goal for the second half.
The Huskies would only get one shot in the second half, but it would be decisive. In the 63rd minute, Cade Smith’s pass caught the hand of Wildcat defender Chad Harrison in the box, awarding a penalty kick to Portage Northern. Senior Seth Paige aimed left and scored what would ultimately be the clinching goal.
With the victory, Portage Northern improves to 4-2-1 overall. At 3-1-0 in SMAC play, the Huskies are tied for the second spot with St. Joseph. Gull Lake (3-0) holds the top spot. The Huskies return to action Tuesday with a trip to Lakeshore, followed by a trip to Niles Thursday.
Mattawan drops to 7-2-1 on the year and 1-2-1 within league play. A trip to Kalamazoo Central awaits Tuesday, followed by Lakeview at home Thursday.