Make it two in a row
It was another wet night for the Alpena girls soccer team on Tuesday as it faced off against Ogemaw Heights.
While it wasn’t the complete wash out of last season’s 8-0 win, the Wildcats were still able to come out on top 4-1, with most of the damage being done in the first half.
This win gives Alpena a 2-0 start and 1-0 start in the Big North Conference.
“Ogemaw-Heights is far improved from last year. They worked hard and played with enthusiasm all game in spite of the conditions,” Alpena coach Tim Storch said.
The Falcons actually struck first, five minutes into the game off of an Emily Wilcox goal that slipped just past the fingers of Anneliese Mathia.
If this phased the Wildcats, they didn’t show it as Emily Duncan booted in the tying goal two minutes later.
Play in the first half tended to hover around the midfield but Alpena consistently applied offensive pressure that Ogemaw struggled to handle. The Falcons had a few breakaway scoring chances, but players like Hannah Fitch and Chris Trafelet were able to break up the plays.
Alpena took the lead for good off a clever Tatiana Burcar goal that came with an assist from Lexi Rushing with 21 minutes left in the half.
Ogemaw kept up defensively with the Wildcats but wasn’t able to mount any serious offensive push in over 12 minutes.
The rain continued to pour heavily throughout the contest, but the girls on both teams just got back up from any slipping and didn’t seem to mind the mud.
“Anytime you play in these kinds of conditions it’s tough. No team should have to play a game like that more than once or twice a season and we’ve had to play two in the last two days,” Storch said.
Burcar scored again with five minutes left in the half off a penalty kick earned after an Ogemaw player used her hands.
The second half was more or less consisted of the Wildcats trying to stop Ogemaw offense and players like Ellie Siegert really proved their skills in breaking up offensive plays with strong footwork and physical playing.
Isabelle O’Neil and Burcar set up a clever play with Burcar booting the ball to O’Neil on a strong drive, giving O’Neil the chance to score the fourth and final goal of the night with nine minutes left to play.
It was O’Neil’s third goal in two games.
“It’s been a couple years since Alpena girls soccer has had a 2-0 start. Tonight, I saw some positive signs out on the field. We just need to improve our execution. We have the right ideas, the right concepts and the right instincts, which is good so early in the season but we need to execute them a little bit better. If we can do that we’ll be playing top-notch soccer,” Storch said.
Alpena travels to Gaylord on Thursday and returns home on Tuesday against Cadillac.
Eric Benac can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac.