Gull Lake claimed the SMAC Gold Bracket tournament championship for the second consecutive season with Friday’s 5-3 victory against regular-season champ Portage Central. The high-scoring affair was much different from last week’s 1-1 draw, as it was the highest tally surrendered for both teams this season.
The Blue Devils carried a 3-0 advantage into halftime with the opening goal in the seventh minute. Junior Rosie Wisser’s free kick deflected off goalkeeper Abby Areaux’s hands to a waiting Avery Cook for the rebound and goal. Three minutes later, Wisser placed a 35-yard free kick into the upper corner for a 2-0 lead.
The game stayed at 2-0 until the 38th minute when senior All-American Reagan Wisser tallied her first goal of the evening from the near edge of the box, Unofficially, Gull Lake had seven first half shots-on-goal to two for PC and led overall shots 12-5.
Portage Central wouldn’t go down without a fight, getting two goals on their first two shots on target for the second half. In the 43rd minute, Sophie Bradford perfectly placed a through-ball to Alana Hague for the first Mustang goal. Hague put PC back within one on a 55th minute set-piece from 20 yards out.
Gull Lake would pull back away with two impressive goals by Reagan Wisser in the 63rd and 69th minutes. Both were scored on shots while on the run from around 30 yards out. Wisser also picked up a hat-trick in last season’s 3-2 tournament final overtime win. Portage Central’s Mary Mitchell had the final tally in the 75th minute to get to the 5-3 final.
Unofficially, Blue Devil goalkeeper Gabby Bennecke stopped five shots with PC’s Areaux turning away seven.
The regular season is over for Gull Lake with a record of 13-2-1. The Blue Devils begin their postseason on Wednesday, hosting Vicksburg. Harper Creek awaits for the winner on Tuesday, May 28 from Plainwell.
Portage Central drops to 10-3-3 and has one more regular season contest ahead, hosting Caledonia Wednesday. PC’s district path begins on Tuesday, May 28 against either Jackson or Kalamazoo Central.
As for the other SMAC tournament games from Friday night:
Third Place: St. Joseph 2, Lakeshore 0
Fifth Place: Loy Norrix 3, Mattawan 2 (LN won in PKs 4-3)
Seventh Place: Lakeview 1, Portage Northern 0
Ninth Place: Kalamazoo Central 2, Niles 0