A fight to the end
LINCOLN-Despite having to play three games in four nights, the Alcona soccer team saved its best performance of the week for last.
Trenton LaVergne scored his second hat trick in as many nights and Chase Matthews set a new school record, but the Tigers fell short against Bay City John Glenn on Thursday, losing 4-3.
LaVergne scored on a header with 4:28 to play, but Alcona (7-8) couldn’t net the equalizer in the time remaining.
“We really hung with them. We worked the ball around, Trenton was able to knock in three good ones and it was a good team effort,” Alcona junior Jason Steiner said.
Alcona’s loss came after a 5-4 loss to Oscoda on Monday and an 8-0 mercy-rule win over Whittemore-Prescott on Wednesday.
John Glenn took a 3-1 lead less than five minutes into the second half on a long shot from Connor Monaghan, but Alcona cut the Bobcats’ lead to one two different times during the frame.
LaVergne knocked in his second goal at the 13:22 mark of the second half to cut the lead to 3-2. He barely missed on a header nearly 10 minutes later after taking a pass from Steiner.
While Alcona’s offense played well, Matthews did more than his part in net to keep the Tigers in the game. He played one of his best games of the season in net for the Tigers and set a new school record for saves in a game with 24. The previous record was 22 set by Aaron Ritchie.
“It was fantastic. He was feeling bad because of the last game, but tonight was a big confidence booster for him,” Steiner said of Matthews’ performance.
Connor Windiate, who scored twice for the Bobcats, gave John Glenn another two-goal cushion with 15 minutes left in the game after scoring on a corner kick.
The game proved to be a physical affair with several calls being made. Windiate was awarded a penalty kick with 16:25 left in the first half, but Matthews stopped his shot.
“We were all really, really tired and I felt like in the second half we got a second wind and pushed the last two games out of our heads and focused on this one,” Steiner said.
LaVergne muscled his way to the front of net several times early in the game and missed his first scoring chance about six minutes into the game. After Windiate gave John Glenn a 1-0 lead at 13:10, LaVergne answered him 23 seconds later, sending a shot past the Bobcats’ keeper when he came out too far to play the ball.
Jacob Bleshenski put John Glenn back out in front with a header with 6:22 left in the half.
Alcona will head to Oscoda on Monday in a 7 p.m. game that will decide the North Star League title.
James Andersen can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.