It took all of 27 seconds for Cheboygan to take control against the Alpena girls soccer team on Thursday.
The Chiefs didn't have to do much to stay ahead after that.
Mandy Paull scored two goals for the Chiefs and the Wildcats' scoring woes continued as they lost 2-0 in their regular season finale at Wildcat Stadium.
News Photo by James Andersen
Alpena’s Ellie Siegert (13) races for a ball with Cheboygan’s Abby Ackerman during the first half of a girls soccer game on Thursday at Wildcat Stadium.
Thursday's loss marked the seventh straight game that Alpena has been held scoreless. The Wildcats have been outscored 32-0 in that stretch and have only tallied 18 goals in 20 games, a fact that isn't lost on head coach Tim Storch.
"We don't have the technical ability or the players to score goals unless its happens kind of by fluke. We've scored 18 goals in 20 games," Storch said. "Goal scoring demands a lot of technical ability and it's not the problem of these girls, they're giving me their best effort, but high school soccer wasn't meant for rec players."
Paull put the Chiefs ahead for good just 27 seconds in when she scored on a cross. From there the Chiefs kept firing a steady stream of shots at Alpena keeper Carley Hokesema as the Wildcats' offense struggled to challenge Chiefs keeper Jessica Smith.
Hokesema came up with several strong saves throughout the contest, but Alpena (5-15) couldn't muster much offense to back her up. With twelve and a half minutes to go in the first half, Hokesema missed a save chance, giving Megan Murphy a wide-open shot at the net. Fortunately for Alpena, Murphy couldn't quite wrap the ball around the far left end of the net and the ball sailed out of play.
Two and a half minutes later, Alpena caught a lucky break again as Allie Santor banged a shot off the top of the right goal post and out of play.
The Wildcats got a great scoring opportunity three minutes into the game as Smith bobbled a save, but managed to get a handle on the ball before Natalie Nowakowski could get a chance at a loose ball. Alex Przewozniak had a scoring chance too for the Wildcats in the opening minutes of the second half, but her shot missed wide right.
Alpena's last good chance came nearly 10 minutes later when the Wildcats were awarded a free kick. Emily Duncan curved the kick to the left and Rieke Hoffner was able to get a boot on it from the left, sending a shot up high where Smith was able to get a hand on it and send it out of play.
"The girls are trying real hard. They're trying their best and they're learning a lot, but there's no magic switch or magic wand I can wave or a magic pill they can take to make them (better) soccer players," Storch said.
Hokesema came up with several stops on Murphy in the second half including on a chance with 5:40 left when Murphy sent a shot just to the right of the goal. Hokesema wasn't able to stop Paull 32 seconds later when she buried a shot for her second goal of the game and an insurance goal for the Chiefs.
Alpena will have at least one more game this season when it hosts Traverse City Central at 6 p.m. on Tuesday in a district game. The Trojans got the better of the Wildcats on Tuesday, beating them 8-0 in a mercy-rule win, but Storch is hopeful his team can do a better job of staying in the game with tough defense.
"We're going to defend like banshees, that's what we can do," he said.
James Andersen can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.