Portage Central secured back-to-back SMAC tournament championships and a perfect season against conference opponents with their 3-1 win against Mattawan in Tuesday’s gold bracket finale.
All of the game’s scoring came in the second half following a very defensive first 40 minutes. Although Portage Central unofficially won overall first half shots 7-6, none were on goal for the Mustangs with two on target for the Wildcats. PC’s first shot on goal was a big one 78 seconds into the second half as senior midfielder Elliot Greathouse scored on a shot from around 30 yards out.
The Mustangs controlled the opportunities for much of the second half, outshooting Mattawan 13-5, although shots on goal were 6-4. In the 64th minute, a foul in the middle of the turf and on the arc led to a set-piece goal for Greathouse and a 2-0 lead.
Just over two minutes later, the Wildcats were fouled just outside the penalty box themselves, leading to a Mattawan goal by Connor Burkett and a 2-1 tally. But only 29 seconds later, Portage Central’s Mike Ketteman scored from close range to regain the two-goal cushion. The Mustangs held firm in the final 14 minutes to secure the 3-1 final. Unofficially, PC goalkepeer Kyle Toutanji made five saves.
Mattawan, ranked sixth in the Division 2 coaches poll, concludes the regular season at 16-3-1. They open district play at home Tuesday against Edwardsburg. The winner would head to South Haven for the semifinal next Thursday.
Portage Central, second in the Division 1 poll, jumps to 15-3-1. The Mustangs will be tested immediately, starting district play with a trip Tuesday to seventh-ranked Okemos. You can listen to Tuesday’s semifinal via JoeInsider with kickoff around 6:30 p.m. ET. The winner moves to the semifinal Thursday hosted by Loy Norrix.