A young Alpena soccer team found out on Tuesday what happens when you play the best team on your schedule and perform below your capabilities.
Jon Gourlay and Curt Olson both netted hat tricks for Traverse City West in a 9-1 mercy victory over the overmatched Wildcats at Wildcat Stadium.
West (6-3, 3-0 Big North) took command of the game within the first 15 minutes and never gave the Wildcats (7-3-2, 0-1-2) room to breathe on a painful night for the home team.
Traverse City West’s Rico Rodriguez, left, controls the ball in front of Alpena’s Brad Gosselin during Tuesday’s soccer game at Wildcat Stadium.
Gourley had two of his three goals within a minute of one another in the 14th and 15th minutes of the first half, putting West ahead 3-0. He completed his hat trick in the fifth minute of the second half, padding the Titans' lead to 6-1. Likewise, Olsen had a pair of quick strikes to help him earn his hat trick. He gave West a 5-0 lead just over midway through the first half on a shot that went off the post and in. Then, in the 10th minute of the second half, he notched back-to-back goals into an open net in less than a minute, giving the Titans an 8-1 advantage.
Jon Spencer, Rico Rodriguez, and Mitch Taplin had the other goals for the Titans. Taplin's score, with 23 minutes remaining in the game, enacted the mercy.
Ben Gould started in net for Alpena. He moved to the field with West leading 3-0 and Garrett Mead finished out the contest in goal for the Wildcats.
The big factor in the game was the lack of aggressiveness by the Wildcats as they failed to mark the Titans' players as they came into Alpena's zone, contributing to several easy scores.
"They're good, but we made one bad decision after another bad decision after another," said Alpena coach Randy Stark. "You can't play a good team unless you're willing to sacrifice somthing. We have to learn that. You can't go out and mandate your turn. Good teams aren't going to give you that turn."
Alpena's lone goal came late in the first half on a direct kick by Devin Kendziorski, trimming West's lead to 5-1. That only momentarily stopped the bleeding as the Titans put the game away with four more goals in the next 25 minutes of play.
"The way we played this game was the way we played Sault Ste. Marie in the opening game (of the Alpena Invitational) on Saturday - not focused and half-hearted. We had so many holes it looked like swiss cheese. Hopefully they'll learn something from this."
The Wildcats travel to Traverse City Central on Thursday.
Chris Dobrowolski can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5694.