Braving the elements

Frequent periods of rain and sloppy field conditions didn’t equate to the greatest of performances for the Alpena boys soccer team on Monday.

But when all was said and done, the Wildcats walked away with a 2-0 win over Oscoda at Wildcat Stadium and perhaps a little bit of momentum as they kicked off the final week of the regular season.

“Sloppy field and a sloppy performance on our part, but it’s always better to win a sloppy game than to lose a sloppy game, so we’ll be grateful for the two goals we put on the board in the second half and we’ll walk away with our seventh win of the season,” Alpena coach Tim Storch said.

Ryan Schultz put Alpena (7-10-1) on the board with 24:50 left in the game, converting a header off a corner kick. Davide Venuti added an insurance goal about 10 minutes later.

“That was nice. It’s nice for foreign-exchange students to get a goal. It’s a feel-good moment for them to contribute to a win,” Storch said.

Alpena had numerous chances in the first half, but couldn’t convert any of them. Alcona keeper Brad Curley stopped everything that came his way to keep the game scoreless.

The Wildcats came out firing in the second half and Willie Santos Perez came up just short on a scoring attempt four minutes into the frame. A few minutes later, Schultz came up empty on a chance when he sent a shot high over the net.

Storch gave credit to Curley and the Owls for a well-played game, but lamented his own team’s lack of quality shots throughout the game.

“Our execution was not good. We matched the sloppy field conditions. We were sloppy in our technical and tactical play and this field, on a day like today, for hard, low shots to give the goalkeeper problems,” Storch said. “Our focus wasn’t there and our finishers were sending shots over the top.”

Oscoda had a few quality shots on Alpena keeper Gray Martin, but nothing got through. One of the Owls best chances came less than a minute after Schultz’s goal when Brandon Bissonette missed a shot.

Alpena will host Gaylord tonight at 7 p.m. during Senior Night and will also be having a Pack the House Night, where everyone is encouraged to attend to fill the stands.

James Andersen can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.