Loy Norrix and Portage Central played to a 1-1 draw on a beautiful Thursday evening in Kalamazoo, opening SMAC league play for both squads. It’s the first time in many years that the Knights avoided defeat to the Mustangs and the first non-victory for PC in SMAC play since their September 2017 draw with Gull Lake.
Portage Central went ahead in the 24th minute as Ben Sosville scored with an assist to Andrew Barnes. The Mustangs outshot the Knights two-to-one in the first half and increased the gap in the second half, although the unofficial shots-on-goal stayed close at 9-7. Both teams were saved by the crossbar at one point in the second half.
After PC controlled possession for the early stages of the second half, Loy Norrix was able to find some pressure in the latter part. Late in the 73rd minute, Knight freshman Anthony Herrera and Mustang defender Ben Kahmark collided as they and PC keeper Kyle Toutanji raced to a loose ball in the box. After a discussion by the officials, the penalty kick was awarded to Loy Norrix.
Junior captain Carter Scheel was selected for the PK and fired right as Toutanji guessed wrong, evening the game at 1-1. Neither team was able to score again in a physical final seven minutes of play. Unofficially, LN goalkeeper Carlos Santos had eight saves and Toutanji stopped six.
Loy Norrix moves to 0-1-2 overall and has non-conference action Saturday afternoon as they host Kalamazoo Christian. Their second SMAC contest is at home Monday versus Lakeshore.
Portage Central sits at 1-0-2 and is off until their second league match on Wednesday at Mattawan.