Alpena boys soccer team ends regular season with sloppy win over Alcona

News Photo by James Andersen Alpena’s Noah Carstens (5) battles Alcona’s Josh Kilbourn (10) for control of the ball during the first half of a soccer game on Wednesday at Alcona High School.

LINCOLN–On a sloppy, rainy, muddy night, the Alpena boys soccer team ended the regular season on a sloppy note.

The record book will show officially that the Wildcats defeated Alcona 2-1 on Wednesday, but it was a less than stellar victory.

Alpena had plenty of scoring chances and controlled possession for large chunks of time, but came away with only a pair of goals to show for its efforts while Alcona played a spirited second half to keep the Wildcats on their toes.

Aidan Day and Caleb Eaton each scored for the Wildcats (11-7-4), who were hoping for a better regular season finale ahead of district play next week.

“We played very silly soccer. We out-possessed a team probably 80 to 20, but our possession never materialized. We had chances to finish and credit to their goal keeper,” Alpena coach Tim Storch said. “We just played silly soccer to let them hang around. We were possessing the ball with no real intent to score goals.”

Elliot Dubuque found the back of the net about 12 minutes into the second half to cut Alpena’s lead to one. Dubuque’s tally came during an intense 10-15 minutes of play where the Tigers (11-8-1) were aggressive on offense and tested Alpena keeper Wenton Harrison.

“Great game, great game. They didn’t quit (and) they stayed right in it. They (Alpena) got up two goals in the first half and didn’t score in the second half,” Alcona coach Tim Munro said. “We had our chances. It was a great, great game. The kids really stepped up. Our defense really held.”

Alpena led 2-0 at halftime, but Alcona came out firing early in the second half. After Alpena’s Kyle Barbeau dinged a shot off the crossbar less than five minutes in, Alcona had several good chances. Josh Kilbourn had a chance about six minutes in, but Harrison was a few steps ahead of him in making the stop. Brett Nelson then followed up with a chance a few minutes later after crossing a defender, but couldn’t quite find his mark.

A few minutes later, the Tigers nearly scored on a corner kick as a ball was redirected at Harrison. The play appeared to catch him slightly offguard, but he was able to make a catch for the save.

Alcona was finally rewarded for its efforts about 12 minutes into the period when Dubuque scored off the crossbar. He had another scoring chance around the 20-minute mark after taking a pass from Kilbourn, but fired high on when he had a clear shot.

On the other end, Alpena fired plenty of shots at Alcona keeper Aidan Wrobel–who finished with 13 saves–but only found the back of the net twice. In a consistent downpour, both teams dealt with moving the ball on a wet field and playing their way through divots, which popped up increasingly during the game.

“We’ve played them before so we knew who to watch,” Munro said. “This is a great game for us going into districts.”

Eaton found the back of the net in the upper right corner about 20 minutes into the first half and Day scored a few minutes later, scoring on a rebound after a shot by Noah Carstens.

Alcona ends its regular season on Friday against Roscommon.

The Wildcats will be looking for a better effort on Monday when they play at Petoskey in a Division 2 district quarterfinal. The Wildcats didn’t have the greatest of efforts a few days ago against the Northmen and after Wednesday’s effort Storch’s message to his team was simple: don’t be afraid to shoot.

“The message is clear: No. 1, if we don’t show a willingness to shoot the ball and a willingness to try to finish and the ability to finish, we’re not going to win games,” Storch said. “It’s disconcerting to me that we had so many golden opportunities that we put balls high and wide. Credit to Alcona, they were very, very dangerous there at the end.”

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