Experience is a painful teacher, both in life and in sports.
That was the message Alpena girls soccer coach Tim Storch had after the Wildcats dropped their third game of the week on Friday, losing 5-1 to Cheboygan.
On the heels of a 9-1 loss to Traverse City West on Thursday, the Wildcats ran up against a Cheboygan squad with an experienced core and had trouble slowing the Chiefs down.
News Photo by James Andersen
Alpena’s Emily Code, right, races to the ball while Cheboygan’s Mandy Paull defends during a girls soccer game on Friday at Wildcat Stadium.
Mandy Paull and Sierra Kolatski scored two goals each and Kaylyn Brown added a single tally.
Paull was all over the field for the Chiefs and missed a shot about 10 minutes into the game. She sent a shot high that Alpena keeper Carley Hoeksema got a hand on and sent out of play. Paull was right on the mark a few minutes later, burying a shot to give the Chiefs a 1-0 lead.
The Wildcats (1-4) trailed just 1-0 at halftime, but Cheboygan used its experience to pull away fast.
"They're 5-0 for a reason. They beat us last year for a reason too. They've got what I thought were four quality players," Storch said. "(Paull) was a very good player in the middle of the field; (Brown) had great speed; (Kolatski) was a good complimentary forward and their goalkeeper (Jessica Smith)."
Alpena had a near miss with 15 minutes left after Smith missed an initial save attempt but was able to recover.
Tatiana Burcar also missed on a long shot with four minutes left in the first half.
Kolatski scored her first goal 10 minutes into the second half, juking Hoeksema and sending a shot to the back of the net. Five minutes later, Paull took a pass up close from a teammate and buried it from a few yards out, giving the Chiefs a three-goal cushion.
Morgan Allen cut into Cheboygan's lead with 24:26 left, scoring with an assist from Ellie Wedge.
The goal was Allen's third of the season and second in two games.
"Morgan's just a diamond in the rough that keeps getting better and better game in and game out," Storch said.
Kolatski slipped a ball between Hoeksema's legs with 10:38 left to put the Chiefs ahead 4-1. Brown made it 5-1 after a shot from Claire Woiderski hit the crossbar and Brown buried the rebound.
Going forward Storch said he'll try and balance the raw talent of some of Alpena's younger players with the experience of Alpena's seniors and hopes the Wildcats continue to progress.
"It's a lack of experience and lack of knowing what to do tactically and having the technical ability to do it," Storch said. "There's no magic wand for experience and like in life it's a painful teacher. You learn that experience, but it takes time."
Alpena's JV team beat the Chiefs 1-0.
Alpena hosts Gaylord on Monday.
James Andersen can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.