Alpena earns Big North win over Ogemaw Heights

The Alpena girls soccer team made the most of its opportunities on Thursday.

Chloe Ferguson and Kourtney Jones each scored a goal and the Wildcats topped Ogemaw Heights 2-0 at Wildcat Stadium in a Big North Conference game.

After the start of the game was delayed by almost 40 minutes due to thunderstorms, the Wildcats took care of business in the sloppy, rainy conditions. Alpena (4-10, 2-6 Big North) kept up the pressure on offense for most of the game and had several near misses to go along with its two goals.

“The girls understand where we’re at and it’s a comparable level to teams like Ogemaw and Grayling and Sault Ste. Marie are at,” Alpena coach Tim Storch said. “When we play those teams that are comparable to us, we’ve shown we can do some things, but we’re in a league where we’ve got to step it up to the next level.”

After missing on a chance about 15 minutes into the game, Ferguson connected with 24:59 left in the first half with an assist from Isabelle O’Neil. The Wildcats had several more chances in the remaining time, but couldn’t convert and went into halftime with a 1-0 lead.

Freshman Sophie Courtemanche had a few solid chances for Ogemaw in the first half, but didn’t get anything by Alpena keeper Maren Winter. Courtamanche went wide right on a shot with 23 minutes left.

Courtamanche had another scoring chance eight minutes into the second half, but was chased down by Taylor Tolsdorf, who cleared the ball away.

Jones put Alpena up 2-0 with 25:35 left, scoring after a direct kick from O’Neil bounced off the post to Jones who was waiting and buried the chance. O’Neil had a quality chance of her own less than five minutes later, but Ogemaw’s keeper, Megan Killingbeck, recovered in time to make a running save to the left side of the net.

Alpena kept up the intensity on offense the rest of the way and Mollie Girard, Addison Sharp and Ferguson were among those who had quality scoring chances. Girard in particular had a breakaway chance with 10:37 left, but sent the ball high and out of play.

“She’s a good soccer player, who’s learning positionally and tactically how to play the game,” Storch said. “She’s going to do nothing but get better and the same is true for Emma Kelly and Taylor Tolsdorf (among others). We’ve had our seniors step up too.”

Alpena hosts the Sunrise Side Soccer Challenge Cup on Saturday.