Missed opportunities hurt Wildcats in Sunrise Side Soccer Challenge Cup

News Photo by James Andersen Alpena’s Grant Botha, left, looks to pass the ball to a teammate while being defended by Adrian’s Aidan Bell during a soccer game at Wildcat Stadium on Saturday. Alpena hosted its annual Sunrise Side Soccer Challenge Cup tournament and finished in fifth place, ending the day with a win and two losses.

The Alpena High boys soccer team generated plenty of scoring opportunities on Saturday, but couldn’t come away with enough victories to show for its efforts.

The Wildcats opened the 2018 season with a fifth place finish at their annual Sunrise Side Soccer Challenge Cup tournament at Wildcat Stadium. Alpena opened the day with a 3-1 loss to Adrian and lost 2-1 to Marquette in its second game. The Wildcats settled for fifth place after gaining a 1-0 forfeit victory over Lowell.

“We’re banged up a bit, but all things considered…we’ve got a young team and there’s promise there. They showed that,” Alpena coach Tim Storch said. “The bottom line is we have to be better in both penalty boxes and finish our chances because we had a lot of them.”

Alpena (1-2) outshot Adrian by a wide margin in its first game, but the Maples came away with the win after taking advantage of opportunities on a pair of corner kicks.

Mitchell Hanosh scored twice for Adrian and Liam DiPetro added a goal.

The Wildcats had plenty of chances but couldn’t get much by Maples keeper Drey Costello. Many of Alpena’s chances went high above or wide of the net and it wasn’t until Adian Day scored with 4:25 that Alpena got on the board.

“The Adrian game, that’s going to be one that sticks in the pit of our stomach for awhile because we really let that one get away,” Storch said. “We outshot them 17-7 on the game and lost 3-1 because only four of our shots were on goal.”

Alpena keeper Wenton Harrison made several impressive stops for the Wildcats on Saturday and stopped the Maples on a couple of early scoring chances in the first half. Adrian finally connected with 13:45 left in the first half when Hanosh beat Harrison on the right side.

He connected again with 8:20 left in the half after redirecting a corner kick.

Day was a consistent presence in front of the net all day, especially against Marquette, but had several good chances against the Maples too. He had a good chance just before the midway point of the first half, but sent the shot wide. Midway through the second half Day had another chance in close and missed. He finally connected with 4:25 to play, preventing an Adrian shutout.

Noah Carstens was among several Alpena players who had scoring chances, but the Wildcats had trouble hitting the mark on a field that was wet after an early morning downpour.

“For the amount of possessional play we had, that’s gonna hurt all season knowing that we gave that one away,” Storch said.

Day was a force again for Alpena against Marquette, but it was Deven Saranen who connected with 23:18 left in the first half with an assist from Carstens to give Alpena its only lead of the day.

Marquette tied the game tied the game with 9:32 left in the half on a goal from Drew Wyble and took the lead with 24:20 left in the game when Trevor Salmon redirected a pass from Nick Lindberg off his knee and past Harrison for the game-winner.

Day had a mini breakaway in the opening minute of the game and hit the post on a shot late in the first half. Alpena was awarded a penalty kick with 12:16 left and Day took the shot, but couldn’t convert.

“The second game, I thought we played well against a strong Marquette team. We played well and with a little bit of luck, Aidan Day could’ve had three goals,” Storch said. “That was a good solid game, good solid effort.”

Troy Athens defeated Marquette 5-0 in the tournament final. In the third place game, Midland defeated Adrian 3-2.

Alpena returns to action at 7 p.m. on Monday in Oscoda.

——

2018 Sunrise Side Soccer Challenge Cup scores

Adrian 3, Alpena 1

Midland 1, Lowell 0

Troy Athens 8, Lowell 0

Marquette 2, Adrian 0

Marquette 2, Alpena 1

Troy Athens 1, Midland 0

5th place game: Alpena 1, Lowell 0, forfeit

3rd Place Game: Midland 3, Adrian 2

Championship: Troy Athens 5, Marquette 0