Something to celebrate

The Alpena girls soccer team (5-11, 2-8 Big North) is hosting senior night before its game at 7 p.m. tonight against Traverse City West to celebrate the departing seniors who have played hard this season through some tough conditions and tough competition.

Alpena last faced Traverse City West during a snowstorm and held them to 0-0 stalemate with two minutes left in the first half. The Wildcats went on to give up five goals in the shortened game.

“That’s been our big bugaboo this season. We run into the first sign of adversity and we hang our heads and accept defeat,” Alpena coach Tim Storch said.

Nine seniors will be honored tonight during senior night: Natalie Nowakowski, Sarah Swider, Rieke Hoffner, Ellie Siegert, Alicia Oliver, Chris Trafalet, Mychi Shumaker, Alex Przewozniak and Emily Duncan.

Alpena will also have a Pack the House night at tonight’s games and admission is free to both the JV and varsity games.

Alpena has been hampered by some injuries lately, knocking out important players, such as defender Megan Martin, at a crucial point in the season.

The Wildcats still have some talent on the roster however and will rely on its captains to get things going.

Przewozniak has been a consistent defensive and offensive presence this year. Her biggest success came in a 4-0 shutout against Ogemaw Heights on May 2 when she scored all of Alpena’s goals.

Tatiana Burcar has been an offensive leader as well, scoring a few goals and Duncan has been one of Alpena’s best defenders.

Storch is also relying on some dark horse players to rise up and play their best soccer.

“I’ve been very impressed by Ellie Siegert this year. She came out for soccer as a senior and I wish I could have had her for four years. If Megan Martin is healthy enough, she should play well too. I like what she brings to the field. Carley Hoeksema has been solid on goal and we’re going to need her to keep that up. Rieke Hoffner has also shown some great signs of becoming a solid player,” Storch said.

Other players that show a lot of promise for growth include freshman Isabelle O’Neil. O’Neil scored two goals in a season-opening win over Oscoda and picks up solid minutes in nearly every game as a relief player.

The senior night presentation will honor graduating players and their parents and a whole new generation of younger players that are waiting in the wings to experience their moment of glory on the varsity team.

“I hope that the girls understand they are an important source of inspiration for those younger players and that they use that understanding to inspire themselves to play some great soccer,” Storch said.

Eric Benac can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac.