LINCOLN-Soccer is always a competitive game, but things got a little emotional and physical during an Alcona-Tawas matchup on Monday at Alcona High School.
Players ran into each other, fans yelled and one red card was given in a 5-1 Tawas victory.
"The first half, we just let them push us around and we weren't really in it. But that last 30 minutes we stepped it up and play real physical," Alcona coach Tim Munro said. "By playing bigger schools, we're teaching the kids to be more physical and I think they accomplished that in the second half."
News Photo by Eric Benac
Alcona sophomore Jake Gallagher (4) fights for the ball against Tawas defender Austin Briggs during a soccer game in Lincoln on Monday. Tawas won 5-1.
The Braves went up 1-0 one minute into the first half when Tim Janis scored on Alcona (2-3) goalie Chase Matthews.
However, Tawas defender Adam Moffatt tied it up 1-1 five minutes later when he scored an own goal on what appeared to be either a poorly-timed pass or a misguided shot.
Alcona primarily focused on defense throughout the first half, perhaps attempting to prevent a repeat of last season's mercy at the hands of Tawas.
To its credit, Alcona successfully kept Tawas scoreless for a long stretch by massing near the goal, preventing clear shots and fighting for the ball.
However, Tawas got on the board again when Janis knocked in his second goal of the night at 16:43 and gave Tawas a 2-1 lead.
The Braves took a 3-1 lead into the second half when Kyle Costigan powered past Matthews with 13:26 left.
In spite of giving up three goals, Matthews kept goal consistently. He put his hands on six shots during a five-minute stretch to keep Alcona in the game.
The Tigers kept up a timid defensive for much of the second half, giving up a goal to Costigan at 35:27 and a third to Janis three minutes later to go down 5-1. Janis' third goal was an impressive display of athleticism as he fought through several Alcona defenders to get a clear shot from up close.
Janis' physical playing style became problematic when a hard hit on Mitchell Havercroft earned him a yellow card at 6:35. He then received a red card three minutes later for showing disrespect to the referee.
Alcona received no yellow or red cards in the match.
"That's what we teach these kids. We teach these kids to keep their mouth shut and play the game," Munro said.
Janis' ejection coincided with more persistent offense from Alcona during the last 10 minutes of the game. Trenton LaVergne took three strong shots that flew just a little too wide or too high.
Jason Steiner also played well offensively, using his speed to work his way past multiple defenders to set up open shots.
This more effective offense play, combined with more physical defensive play in the last half hour of the game kept Alcona from giving up any more goals, but came too late to make a difference.
"It was good for us to play a bigger school, it's a learning experience for us. I thought the last 30 minutes we played close with them," Munro said.
Alcona travels to Bay City John Glenn on Wednesday and Roscommon on Thursday. The Tigers went 2-1 in a soccer tournament in Alma over the weekend.
Eric Benac can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac.