LINCOLN-The Oscoda boys soccer team has had a couple of sluggish weeks as of late and was looking for a big win to break out of its funk.
The Owls did just that on Monday, topping Alcona 4-1 in a Huron Shores Conference game at Alcona High School, getting two goals each from Kyle Griffin and Kyle Wheatley.
From the get-go, Oscoda (14-3) did a good job controlling the ball and took a 1-0 lead with 16 minutes left in the first half. Racing to the left corner, Jason Bissonette kept the ball in play for the Owls and Griffin picked up the ball, ran past two Alcona defenders and put the ball past Aaron Ritchie.
"That was really good for Kyle Griffin to get the two goals because he was tripled-teamed the whole time and the guys sat on him the whole time, so for him to get loose and show what he can do with some awesome shots (was good)," Oscoda coach Gary Schneider said.
Alcona (8-4) didn't get many chances up close in the first half as Oscoda defenders were effective at clearing the ball out of the zone and allowing Owls keeper Brad Curley to make easy saves.
"We had chances and it was a competitive game the whole time. Hopefully they'll learn from this," Alcona coach Tim Munro said. "We get to play them again in the league championships. It was a good effort, but they beat us 4-1."
After Oscoda entered the second half with a 1-0 lead, Griffin banged a shot off the crossbar 23 minutes into the second half. The ball then bounced off an Alcona player's arm inside the box, giving Oscoda a penalty kick, which Griffin buried to put the Owls ahead 2-0.
Carson Jamieson scored Alcona's only goal a few minutes later to cut Oscoda's lead to one, but the Owls responded less than a minute later with a goal from Wheatley to take a 3-1 lead with less than 20 minutes left.
Though the Tigers weren't able to pull out a win, Munro was pleased to see some of his younger players get some experience against a team like Oscoda.
"We still are trying to get them to be more aggressive. We only have three returning seniors, so it's nice for these younger kids to get a chance to play better team," Munro said. "It was a good effort all around, we just came out on the losing end."
Wheatley scored his second goal of the night with 13:52 left in the game, sending a high, arcing shot over Ritchie's head from several yards out.
In the closing minutes, Alcona had several close chances, but wasn't able to convert them as Curley came up with some big saves to keep the Owls ahead.
With the Owls back in the win column, Schneider applauded Oscoda after the game for what he saw as a solid team effort.
"We had a couple sluggish weeks and we've got a good team, but we've been playing really selfish, so the main goal today was to play as a team and I think we accomplished that pretty well," Schneider said.
Alcona hosts Kalkaska on Wednesday at 5 p.m.