Kalamazoo Central defeated crosstown foe Loy Norrix Thursday evening 2-1 in the first contest of the season for the Maroon Giants and second for the Knights. Like recent meetings, it was another competitive bout as they battled for a crucial early SMAC victory.
K-Central had roughly double the shots-on-goal in the first half and had the possession edge initially. The Maroon Giants took a 1-0 lead into halftime thanks to a Drew Rathbun goal at the end of the 19th minute, assisted by freshman Bashir Toliver.
Seven first half saves from LN’s Antonio Rodriquez kept the Knights within striking distance. Loy Norrix came out firing to start the second half and closed the initial gap in scoring opportunities. Their lone goal came in the 58th minute as an excellent free kick by Lucas Figueroa found the head of Ahsaad Leake.
The decisive goal for the Maroon Giants would come in the 64th minute after Breven Brill drew a foul for a penalty kick. Colin Halloran shot to his left and scored for the 2-1 advantage. KC goalkeeper Ryan Talanda unofficially had six saves with Rodriquez finishing with nine for the Knights.
Loy Norrix drops to 0-2 overall and in SMAC play and has a daunting task ahead as they travel to defending league champ Gull Lake Tuesday, which can be heard live via JoeInsider.com.
Kalamazoo Central starts 1-0 and also has a tough road next week with their home opener Tuesday against Portage Central and a trip to Mattawan next Wednesday.