Kiley Kreple and Traverse City West proved to be too much for the Alpena girls soccer team to handle on Thursday.
Kreple scored a hat trick, Lexi Moyer added two goals and the Titans dominated the Wildcats in a 9-1 win at Wildcat Stadium.
West clinched the win by mercy-rule with 19:21 left in the second half when Emily Jameson scored.
News Photo by James Andersen
Alpena’s Miya Ingle, right, fights for a ball with Traverse City West’s Lexi Moyer during a girls soccer game on Thursday at Wildcat Stadium.
Alpena (1-3) stayed with the Titans early in both halves, but ultimately the Wildcats were plagued by fatigue and once it set in, the Titans took control.
"It's part of our evolution as a soccer team. What I like is our competitiveness," Storch said. "There's no quit in our girls and they played hard, but when we come up against the top teams in the league, they just have way more soccer experience and talent."
It was the latest setback for a growing Alpena team that's trying to find its footing in the Big North Conference. The Wildcats played Petoskey to a 1-0 loss on Tuesday, but earned its second mercy loss in two weeks.
"They're a great team. They've a soccer history for a long time and we're just starting to get one," Storch said. "These young girls, I think you can see the potential in them it's just going to take some time to get the experience we need to compete with schools like that."
Kreple collected her hat trick in the first half and West also got single tallies from Emily Walton and Lexi Cannon in the first 40 minutes.
Once the second half started, West didn't lose a step. The Titans kept consistent control of the ball and hit a post and a crossbar in the first 10 minutes.
Alpena's only goal came from sophomore forward Morgan Allen who scored nearly three minutes into the second half to cut the lead to 5-1.
West picked up the tempo from there as Moyer netted a goal with 29:03 left in the game to put the Titans ahead 6-1. She added another goal almost six minutes later.
Cannon added another goal with 22:18 left and Jameson was right behind her with a goal less than two minutes later.
Early in the season, Storch likes the progress he sees from the Wildcats, but said a more concentrated effort is needed against opponents like West.
"I think in spurts we do some things where I say, 'Not bad, not bad,'" Storch said. "But our biggest problem is we don't have that concerted effort against quality opponents."
Alpena will host Cheboygan tonight at 7 p.m.
James Andersen can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.