Play right to the end
After a tight win on Monday, the Alpena girls soccer team was left feeling frustrated and disappointed on Tuesday.
Gaylord scored twice in the final 6:33 to nab a 3-0 Big North Conference victory from the Wildcats at Wildcat Stadium.
Maddie Hamilla scored twice for the Blue Devils (4-1-2, 4-1-2 BN) with the second one coming with just 11 seconds left.
It soured an otherwise solid game for Alpena (5-9, 2-6 BN), which played stellar defense for most of the contest and had two goals called back on offsides calls.
“We played well. We had two goals called back. But I’m frustrated that they can’t play a complete game,” Alpena coach Tim Storch said. “That’s at least two games, maybe three where we’ve given up a goal in the last 15 seconds of the game.”
Gaylord tested Alpena keeper Mychi Shumaker from the opening kick and kept her on her toes the whole game. Shumaker responded with a solid performance in net, coming up with several key saves to keep the Blue Devils from blowing the game open.
Early on, she got her hands up to stop a shot from Melissa Hartmann and just as quickly came up with another save on a follow-up chance from Lindsey Zaremba.
Alpena nearly struck first after Ellie Siegert appeared to score 15:30 into the game, but the goal was disallowed because of an offsides call. Gaylord used the break to get on the scoreboard a few minutes later when Hamilla launched a shot from 15 yards out that rolled by Shumaker.
Throughout the first half, the Wildcats’ defense did a good job of keeping the ball away from Shumaker, but Alpena wasn’t able to mount much offense.
“The fact of the matter is that against the powerful teams in the Big North Conference, we have to manage the game and stay in it,” Storch said. “To do that we had to play very well defensively.”
Things perked up a little for Alpena in the second half when Alex Przewozniak switched to offense. With 15:19 left in the game Przewozniak took a short pass and sent it past Gaylord’s keeper, but the goal was once again called off and Alpena was called offsides.
Shumaker continued to stand on her head, coming up with a diving stop on Hartmann with 12 minutes left.
Gaylord put the nail in the coffin with 6:33 when Kaylor Mikolowski sent a header past Shumaker. Hamilla put Gaylord ahead by three with 11 seconds left, giving Alpena its fourth loss in its last five conference games.
Storch praised his team’s effort for most of the game, but was understandably disappointed with Gaylord’s final goal.
“They look up and say we’ve lost, they quit playing and they take a situation that was for all intents and purposes a good game and end it on a sour note,” Storch said. “We have to finish games. I don’t know if that’s a matter of pride, if it’s a matter of fitness, all sorts of things. We played a very good game in many regards, but there’s still those little idiosyncrasies that we lack.”
Alpena plays at Cadillac on Thursday.
James Andersen can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.