Listen live online Monday via JoeInsider.com as Mattawan hosts Portage Central in soccer starting around 6:30 p.m. Both teams enter unbeaten thus far with the Mustangs at 5-0 and Wildcats at 2-0.
These squads met thrice on the pitch last season. Portage Central won 2-0 in the first contest in April. One month later, Mattawan got revenge with a 1-0 victory in the SMAC tournament semifinal. The Wildcats went on to claim their first-ever league title with a 1-0 championship win over Gull Lake.
The Mustangs would get the last laugh with a 1-0 final over Mattawan to open the district tournament. From there, Portage Central beat Portage Northern and Lakeview to claim the district crown.
Although they could meet again in May in the 2018 SMAC tournament, Mattawan is in a different district than Portage Central this season, with the Wildcats dropping down to Division 2.
The 5-0 start for the fifth-ranked Mustangs comes with wins over Marshall, Lumen Christi, Grandville, Plainwell, and Battle Creek Central. The most recent win pushed head coach Tim Halloran to his 300th career win. Meanwhile, Mattawan’s 2-0 mark comes with wins against Vicksburg and Niles.
Another wild card in Monday’s meeting is the weather, with the current forecast calling for snow, mid 30s temperatures, and winds at 10 to 20 miles per hour. As of Sunday evening, the game is still on as scheduled.
Photo by Brett Beier