PORTAGE – The Fruitport Trojan varsity boys soccer team kicked off Saturday, Aug. 24 with two ties and a loss at the Justin Bailey Memorial Shootout in Portage.

“We played three evenly matched teams,” said Fruitport head coach Greg Kobylak. “It could not have been a more competitive day for us. A few different calls or bounces and we could have been 3-0 or 0-3.”

In the first match of the day, the Trojans fell 2-1 to Battle Creek Lakeview.

Fruitport got on the board first, when Noah Hendricks scored an unassisted goal in the first half. Lakeview evened things at 1-1 later in the half, and then nabbed the game-winning goal off a penalty kick late in the match.

Conner Deneen made 8 saves in goal, with Lakeview taking the 9-7 shots-on-goal edge.

“Kyle Winger and Jacob Dyer stepped up big in our first game,” said Kobylak.

Gull Lake pulled out to the early lead in Game 2, earning a goal in the first minute of the match.

“…then the defense got locked in,” said Kobylak.

Trailing 1-0 at the break, Fruitport’s Zach Gilson, taking a pass from teammate Matt Umstead, blasted a 30-foot laser between the Gull Lake goalie’s outstretched hands and the crossbar, tying the match at 1-1, where the score remained as the clock expired.

Deneen was big off his line in the game and ended with seven saves, while seniors Seth Carrier and Ben Kramer contributed to the team’s performance on the pitch.

Fruitport outshot Gull Lake 8-6.

Finally versus Plainwell, the Trojans looked like they were headed for their first win of the season.

With under 10 seconds remaining in the match, and leading 3-2, Plainwell scored the tying goal to make it 3-3

Fruitport’s Gilson got the first goal of the match, just five into the game with a one-touch finish on an impressive assist from Cameron Brandow.   Plainwell scored to tie the match at 1-1 just before half time.

Early in the second half, Plainwell scored on what looked to be an offsides, taking the 2-1 lead. But the Trojans responded with two goals, by Dalton Mullennix and Gilson, to take back the lead.

Deneen finished four saves, while defenders Nathan Sturtevant and Bryant Rebone played well in leading the defense.

Fruitport’s next contest is Monday versus Coopersville.