LINCOLN-Alcona sophomore Jeffery Schram couldn't have asked for better way to open the season.
Schram netted a hat trick and the Tigers opened the 2013 season with a win over Suttons Bay at Alcona High School on Tuesday.
"We did well on offense and defense, we held our own against a good team, and we had a nice tight game. Jeff had a great game for us, but it was a well played game by everybody," Alcona coach Tim Munro said.
News Photo by Eric Benac
Alcona’s Jesse Collins (4) moves the ball away from Suttons Bay’s Logan Mikesell (13) in their season opening game on Tuesday. Alcona won 3-2, with Jeffery Schram scoring all three goals.
This victory is especially nice for the Tigers, 2012 district champions, after losing stars like Jared Steiner to graduation and Carson Jamieson to football. Schram, a former defensive player, has moved up to Alcona's front line, along with junior Jason Steiner, to form a potent scoring duo.
Schram's first goal came with 15:09 left in the first half. He had already taken two shots at the goal, when his third dropped in the net. His second goal came in the second half, after Logan Mikesell of the Norsemen tied it up seven minutes into the half. It was a particularly thrilling goal for the Tigers.
"(Jason) Steiner had the ball, and was rushing it down. The defenders were coming at him, and he took a shot at the goalie. It bounced off the goalie at me, and I knocked it in with my right foot," Schram said.
The third goal came with 5:22 left in the game and was a similar breakaway goal. Schram took the ball up the field on a breakaway and booted it in the net, picking up an assist from Steiner along the way.
This third goal prevented a tie, as Mikesell kicked in Suttons Bay's second goal with 1:37 left in the game.
"He's our go-to guy, and he probably will be all year. He's a great athlete and a great runner, and he gave us a great finish," Norsemen coach Tom Spencer said.
The Norsemen played fairly sluggish offense and defense in the first half, but picked up in the second, with solid play from players like Miguel and Jesus Calderon, as well as Cameron McCool.
However, the Tigers simply put up a better full team effort. Trenton Lavergne, Alcona's second leading scorer last year, was on goal due to a rolled ankle, but utilized his height and reach to block all but one shot on the net. He was replaced in the second half by Chase Matthews, who also let only one shot go past his gloves.
Steiner had a stand out night on offense, using his speed to weave past defenders. Although he didn't score, he knocked on the door several times through the night. Jesse and Cody Collins also showed a lot of improvement since last year, showing better ball handling skills and defensive positioning.
"It was really the defense that kept us in the game. We have a young front and backfield, but they did a really good job of stepping up tonight. Trenton especially did a really good job at goal," Munro said.
Alcona is 1-0, and play again next Wednesday at Alpena.
Petoskey 8, Alpena 1
PETOSKEY- The Alpena boys soccer team didn't get the start it was hoping for in Big North Conference play.
The Wildcats gave up a goal 10 seconds into a game against Petoskey on Tuesday and spent the rest of night playing catch-up before losing 8-1.
"We sure looked like a team that graduated seven starters," Alpena coach Tim Storch said. "And we are. We made a defensive mistake early in the game and that pretty much set the tone."
Petoskey used its fast start to take a 5-0 lead at the half.
Zach Kendziorski netted a goal for Alpena (1-3) in the second half with an assist from Willie Santos-Perez.
Alpena returns to action on Thursday at Traverse City West.
Eric Benac can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac.