Wildcats fall flat

Alpena sputters in Big North loss to Northmen

News Photo by James Andersen Petoskey's Gavin Kerley (1) tries to dribble past Alpena's Caleb Burger during the first half of a Big North Conference soccer game on Tuesday at Wildcat Stadium. Kerley scored twice as Petoskey defeated the Wildcats 4-0.

With the postseason fast approaching, a solid performance against a good team could go a long way for the Alpena High boys soccer team.

Given that chance on Tuesday, the Wildcats fell flat and lost to Petoskey 4-0 in a Big North Conference game at Wildcat Stadium.

Alpena (10-10-1, 2-8 Big North) managed six shots on goal against Petoskey keeper David Paquette, but aside from a few chances in the first half, the Wildcats couldn’t keep up with the Northmen offensively.

“We didn’t show up. We didn’t show up to play and I’m not sure why,” Alpena coach Tim Storch said. “Our effort and energy was not good and you can’t be successful in the Big North when you don’t play with passion. Until we do that, we won’t be able to play with the two Traverse Cities or Petoskey or Gaylord for that matter.”

Gavin Kerley scored twice for the Northmen who led just 1-0 at halftime, but broke the game open with two goals in the first 10 minutes of the second half.

Nick Hicks scored just 22 seconds into the second half and Dominick Murray added a goal with 31:20 left to play. It was more than enough cushion for Petoskey before Kerley scored with 2:48 left.

Alpena had several scoring chances in the first half, but couldn’t convert them. Aidan Day had a chance on a header four minutes into the game and halfway through the first half Day had another chance. With four minutes left in the half, Grant Botha had a chance on a header and came up empty.

Kerley’s goal with 31:27 left in the first half proved to be enough to send the Northmen to halftime with the lead. Keaton Walker passed the ball to Murray who crossed the ball to Kerley, who put a bank shot past Alpena keeper Lawson Labean for the game’s first goal.

Alpena will wrap up the regular season at home tonight against Alcona and though the Wildcats will be honoring their eight seniors during Senior Night, Storch said Alpena’s starting lineup will look decidedly different.

“We’re going to take a look at a lot of underclassmen tomorrow because obviously a night like tonight the seniors didn’t get it done and we’re going to see what the underclassmen can do,” Storch said.

James Andersen can be reached via email at sports@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.