The Alpena boys soccer team got to smell the sweet aroma of victory on Thursday against Cadillac. Both team's fought very hard but only one team scored and that was Alpena.
Aaron Mead scored on a penalty kick early in the second half which proved enough for Alpena to beat the Vikings 1-0 at Wildcat Stadium.
Alpena coach Tim Storch was extremely proud of his team.
News Photo by Eric Benac
Cadillac’s Levi Rowan, left, heads the ball while Alpena’s Zach Kendziorski tries to stop him. Alpena scored on a penalty kick early in the second half to win 1-0 on Thursday at Wildcat Stadium.
"They played the cleanest I've ever seen them play. Both offensively and defensively. They were very responsive and they developed a tenacity and mental toughness that I hadn't yet seen from them," Storch said.
Alpena (4-4-1) offensively dominated the first half of the game as far as shots and the Wildcats had nine total shots to Cadillac's three. Cadillac brought the ball into scoring territory more often but was regularly shut down by Alpena's defense.
"They got the ball down there, but we didn't give them many chances to shoot," Storch said.
Both teams played excellent defense throughout the first half. Alpena may have had more shots, but they were displaced or blocked every time by the rock solid Cadillac defense.
With 31:38 to go in the game, Alpena earned a penalty kick. After the kick was awarded Cadillac's goalie ran up to the referee and the two appeared to have a heated exchange at which point the referee issued a yellow card, sending the goalie from the game.
Mead was elected to take the penalty shot against the Vikings' backup goalie and got off a shot that was initially blocked by the Cadillac keeper. However, it bounced off his hands and right in front of Mead's feet and Mead booted it in for an easy goal.
The next 10 minutes were a defensive dead lock between the teams. Then with about 21 minutes left in the game, Cadillac began a serious offensive drive for the next 13 minutes. The Vikings took five serious shots on the goal during this period including a free kick by Cadillac's Levi Rowan that narrowly missed the net.
The rest of the game featured excellent defensive soccer played by two teams playing at their best.
The only mishap for Alpena came with about two minutes to play when Jake Kendziorski suffered an injury and had to be helped off the field before the game could restart.
Storch found the night's win to be a turning point for his team.
"Tonight was a signature win for these boys. We have aspirations to be in the top three in the Big North and if we play like this we'll get there," Storch said. "Tonight definitely showed that we can play at that level. We got to send that message to the Cadillacs, the Petoskeys and the Gaylords."
The Wildcats play against Tawas on Monday at home.