Adversity got the better of the Alpena boys soccer team on Tuesday.
After hanging with Traverse City West for the first 22 minutes of a Big North contest at Wildcat Stadium, the floodgates opened and a three-minute span resulted in a 3-0 lead for the Titans before they went on to win 4-0.
Josh Stiglich scored a hat trick for West in the first half, including two goals in a 12-second span and Christien Geiger added a goal for the Trojans (4-1-1) who led 4-0 at the half.
News Photo by James Andersen
Alpena’s Giulio Fantasia, left, tries to dribble past Traverse City West’s Evan Turney during a boys soccer game game Tuesday at Wildcat Stadium. West defeated Alpena 4-0.
Those few minutes proved to be more than the Wildcats (1-3) could recover from.
"The problem I have that we have to overcome, this is something I've seen, we don't have mental toughness. For the first 22 minutes of the game, it's 0-0, we had a chance on kind of a semi-breakaway, their chances were really from a distance, nothing real dangerous," Alpena coach Tim Storch said. "The first sign of adversity, they score, the ball kind of bounces around. It's a bad break, but it's a sign of adversity. We fold like a house of cards, they score three goals in five minutes. We don't have the leadership, we don't have the mental toughness, we crack like an egg shell."
Elliott Zarins had a good chance for Alpena three minutes into the game, but missed on the opportunity; one of the few good chances the Wildcats got all night.
After a scoreless 22 minutes, Stiglich put West ahead 1-0 with 19:01 left in the first half, taking a pass from the right side to slip a shot past Alpena keeper Mitch Skiba.
Twelve seconds later, Stiglich put the Titans ahead by two after getting a pass from the right side, slipping by an Alpena defender and easily putting a shot past Skiba.
Just 2:48 later, Geiger found the ball at his feet after a header and knocked it in, putting the Titans ahead by three.
Storch was pleased with the way the Wildcats played in the early part of the game, but wasn't happy after the scoring spurt by the Titans because of the way Alpena failed to respond.
"That's something that I've seen in our scrimmages, where we make a mistake, there's a break that goes against us whether its self-inflicted or whatever and instead of minimizing the error we compound it and in this case, three goals in five minutes and then another one shortly after that," Storch said. "You take that away that's a six-seven minute span and we're doing fine."
With six minutes left in the half, Stiglich completed his hat trick, giving West a 4-0 lead that it took into halftime.
Alpena held the Titans at bay in the second half, but West still got a fair amount of offensive chances while the Wildcats had trouble getting much of anything going.
Storch liked the way Alpena responded in the second half, but stressed that the Wildcats needed to keep playing hard in spite of any deficit they might face.
"I told them, 'You guys have to play with intensity. you can't just fold up the first sign you see adversity and quit playing hard,'" Storch said. "We didn't generate a ton of chances, but we negated their chances and that's a result of playing hard."
Alpena will play at Traverse City Central on Thursday.