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News Photo by James Andersen
Alpena’s Kaitlynn Kowalski, right, boots a ball past Ogemaw Heights keeper Emilee Curley for the first of her three goals during a soccer game Thursday at Alpena High School. The Wildcats topped the Falcons 8-0.
The week just keeps getting better for the Alpena girls soccer team.
Two days after posting a shutout win over Cheboygan, the Wildcats notched their second straight shutout victory with an 8-0 mercy rule win over Ogemaw Heights on Thursday at Wildcat Stadium.
Kaitlynn Kowalski scored a hat trick and Katie Brownell had two goals and three assists for the Wildcats (4-6), who put together their first multi-game win streak of the season and eclipsed last years total of three wins.
"It's really exciting for us because we've never mercied a team or ever scored that many goals in a game. We're all really excited and the fact we've gotten goals from our defensemen (is good)," Kowalski said. "Maggie Skiba scored and she plays complete defense every game, so it's really exciting for all of us."
Alpena did a good job keeping the play in the Falcons' end for most of the game and got goals from five different players.
Kowalski put the Wildcats up 1-0 midway through the first half when she put a shot in the left corner past Ogemaw keeper Emilee Curley.
In the process of tallying her three goals, Kowalski had several other chances that narrowly missed the back of the net. Less than two minutes after her first goal, Kowalski missed a shot after a pass from Sarah Swider and a short time later, a Kowalski to Swider combination just missed.
"Kaitlynn Kowalski is a girl who loves to go to the goal. She's got a goal scorer's mentality. Katie Brownell is a sniper around the penalty area," Alpena coach Tim Storch said. "We don't often get a chance to play both of them together up top because we need help defensively, but today we were able to."
Brownell put Alpena ahead 2-0 with 12 minutes left in the first half after Curley failed to corral a shot and Brownell booted a shot up high for the score.
Stefanie Dziesinski gave the Wildcats their final goal of the first half just 38 seconds later when she kicked a ball up high that went through Curley's hands as she attempted to make the save.
Alpena keepers Emma Strong and Saidee Jacobs combined for the Wildcats' fourth shutout of the year and weren't tested much by Ogemaw's attackers.
Kowalski needed just 1:17 to earn her second goal in the second half, kicking the ball at the net where it was redirected by an Ogemaw player for the goal.
Storch was pleased to see his team pick up its efforts in the second half, particularly after what he saw as sloppy play from the Wildcats to start the game.
"In the first 20 minutes we were very sloppy and what I talked about is I want to play to the level that we're trying to grow accustomed to and not a roller coaster where we're playing down to the level of a team," Storch said.
Brownell gave Alpena a 5-0 lead eight minutes into the second half. Brownell had her initial shot blocked by Curley, but buried a second attempt after Curley coughed up the ball.
With just over 10 minutes gone in the second period, Kowalski completed her hat trick after sending a shot past Curley into the far left side of the net.
Kowalski now has seven goals on the year and said the successful start the Wildcats have had so far in the second half of the year provides a lot of momentum.
"We're really hopeful for the rest of the season. With our new coach and everything, we've been making huge strides and we're really excited for our game tomorrow because hopefully we can keep the winning streak going," Kowalski said.
With the game well in hand after Kowalski's hat trick, Alpena moved a few defenders into attacking positions. The move was rewarded when Skiba outraced a Falcon defender and sent a ball into a wide open net with seven minutes left.
Amanda Temple cemented the win with 2:45 left to play, finding the back of net after a scramble in front.
The Wildcats will look to complete a perfect week tonight when they host Bay City Western at 6 p.m.
"It's nice to win two games in a row," Storch said. "It's been a good week so far, but we've got to come right back at it tomorrow against a real talented Bay City Western team."