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Women’s spring soccer comes to an end this weekend
Lily GouinApril 19, 2024

NMU shatters Saginaw’s playoff chances

The upset streak continued for the NMU football team as they knocked Saginaw Valley out of playoff contention with a 33-28 win on Saturday, Nov. 3.

A record setting day from the foot of senior kicker Rockne Belmonte and a spark from the special teams gave the ’Cats the push they needed to take down the Cardinals.

Belmonte connected on four of five field goals to cement his name in the record books as NMU’s all time leader in field goals at 42.

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“He’s one of the all-time greats here in his position,” said head coach Chris Ostrowsky. “I’m really pleased I had the opportunity to coach him. I think his impact will be long lasting. He’s made a significant dent in the record books, and I’m sure that will stand for awhile.”

In the ’Cats win over Grand Valley on Saturday, Oct. 13, Belmonte put a 58-yard bomb through the uprights, which stands at NMU’s longest field goal.

Along with Belmonte’s four field goals, the special teams unit recovered three dropped punts and a onside kick in the fourth quarter; all of which lead to points for the ’Cats.

“That was just more or less our guys going out there and making plays,” Belmonte said. “I just hit the ball really high, didn’t really hit it too far, they couldn’t catch it and our guys went down there and made plays.”

NMU got the score within two, 28-26, after a 46-yard field goal from Belmonte with 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter. The teams traded punts, and Saginaw botched their third return that was recovered by junior defensive back Phillipe Micheau.

The ’Cats started their drive at the Cardinals 29-yard line. Junior quarterback Cody Scepaniak broke off a 27-yard before fumbling the ball into the end zone. Senior offensive lineman Jace Daniels was there to scoop up the ball, giving the ’Cats a 33-28 lead and the win.

Ostrowsky said NMU was successful in all facets in the game and he was pleased with the balance of the team.

“I thought we played good defense, I thought we played good offense and I thought we played good special
teams,” Ostrowsky said. “When you’re doing all three well you become a real quality team and I was really pleased with that.”

The Cardinals threatened twice, but both drives were snubbed as junior defensive back Brandon Parson intercepted a pass in the end zone and the Wildcat defense forced a turnover on downs.

Scepaniak finished the game 11-23 for 112 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. He also ran for 98 yards and a touchdown. Junior wide receiver Christian Jessie had five catches for 75 yards and a touchdown.

Junior running back Casey Cotta racked up 109 yards on the ground. Defensively the ’Cats were paced by 11 tackles from sophomore defensive back Nick Krause. Freshman defensive back Loran Jaddou added 10 tackles and senior defensive end Zach Anderson recorded nine tackles.

The ’Cats take on Ferris State at home at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 10. It’s the final game for 12 NMU seniors who will be honored before the game.

“The group of seniors has really been our foundation, and I’m really pleased that I’ve had the opportunity to coach them,” Ostrowsky said.

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