Effort and execution

Wildcats defeat Cadillac to earn first BNC victory

News Photo by Jonny Zawacki Alpena’s Aidan Day (6) takes the ball up field during the first half of a Big North Conference soccer game against Cadillac on Tuesday at Wildcat Stadium.

What a difference a week can make.

The Alpena soccer team was on a mission to get its first Big North Conference victory of the season on Tuesday against Cadillac and that’s exactly what the Wildcats did. The Wildcats responded after recent performances not up to their standards by turning in a full 80 minutes of effort and execution which led to a 4-1 win at Wildcat Stadium.

“We were much better and it’s a lot nicer than it was a week ago. We are a good team. Cadillac played a few BNC teams a lot closer than we did and then we come out tonight and play like this,” Alpena coach Tim Storch said. “I’m hoping this is the team that I’m going to see the rest of the year because this was a lot of fun tonight.”

Alpena wasted little time grabbing an early lead under three minutes into the game when Aidan Day sent a perfect pass from the corner right to a waiting Grant Botha for the first goal.

The Wildcats continued to pressure Cadillac and create scoring chances. Alpena capitalized on one of those chances with 26:01 left in the half as Lucas Belanger found the back of the net to put the home team on top 2-0 and a lead the Wildcats held at the break.

“Our work ethic was great, our execution was pretty good and we did a lot of things well, but we can still get better,” Storch said. “Tonight we gave maximum effort and generally if you work hard good things will happen. We have enough talent to be good, but we have to work hard because we’re not talented enough to get by without it.”

After controlling much of the first half and holding a two goal lead, Alpena still had to work as the Vikings applied some pressure of their own to start the half and they tried to do everything they could to get back in the game.

The Wildcats weathered the early storm by Cadillac and ended up taking a three goal lead with 26:20 left in the game when Day netted his first goal of the contest.

Day was not done scoring as he put the game on ice with his second goal that came with 13:54 left.

“I was really impressed with how we came out and set the tone early. I also give Cadillac a lot of credit because they battled us all night and made us work early in the second half,” Storch said. “After we took the four goal lead I was able to switch some things up and get everyone some action which is always nice especially in a conference game.”

The Vikings ruined Alpena’s chances of a shutout as they scored their lone goal of the game with 9:29 to play, but it wasn’t nearly enough on a night where the Wildcats played arguably their best game of the season.

Alpena improves to 7-4-1 overall and is 1-3 in BNC play. The Wildcats will be back in action on Thursday when they travel to Petoskey for another conference tilt.

“This performance tonight should help us build momentum going forward. This victory tonight shows that we are of the same caliber as the teams in our conference,” Storch said. “We know we can play with any of those teams, but we have to play hard, make great effort and execute in order to be successful.”