Late goal sends Titans past Alpena girls soccer team

News Photo by Jonny Zawacki Alpena’s Taylor Tolsdorf (13) battles Traverse City West forward Jaelyn Dobrowolski (19) for possession of a ball during the first half of a Big North Conference girls soccer game on Tuesday at Wildcat Stadium. Dobrowolski scored a goal with 2:24 to break a scoreless tie as West defeated Alpena 1-0.

For the past two seasons, former Alpena native Jaelyn Dobrowolski has been a thorn in the Alpena High girls soccer program’s side as the Traverse City West junior has scored multiple goals on numerous occasions against the Wildcats.

Alpena focused its attention on the talented Titan on Tuesday, making sure it had bodies defending her at all times and nearly kept her in check for a full game.

But with 2:24 left, Dobrowolski received a throw in, weaved through several Alpena defenders and beat goalkeeper Eden Zann on the short side to propel the Titans to a 1-0 victory over Alpena on Tuesday at Wildcat Stadium.

“To give up the game-winning goal with two minutes to go is frustrating and the girls were literally a hair away from getting a result with Traverse City West, which they’ve never dreamed of doing. We know we can play with anyone and this game was likely for first place in the league tonight,” Alpena coach Tim Storch said. “It’s really frustrating because we did such a good job on Jaelyn all night and then to let her beat three or four girls was really frustrating that our defense didn’t measure up at the most crucial moment. Great effort on the girls part and I know they’re not going to be happy, they’re heartbroken and they should be. This is where we want to be as a program.”

The loss spoiled an otherwise back-and-forth, entertaining game by the Wildcats against the top team in the Big North Conference.

Both teams played a competitive first half and each side had different opportunities to score. But Alpena was unable to get a clean shot off and the Titans were denied by the stellar play of Zann, who did everything she could to keep the game scoreless and extend Alpena’s consecutive shutout streak to six.

Zann played smart and aggressive in net, making several big stops to keep Alpena in the game. She stopped nine of the ten shots that she faced in the contest.

“Eden has been spectacular. We have so many great players on this team and every game it’s someone different stepping up and tonight it was Eden. She was great off of her line and she has developed so well,” Storch said. “Our defense was great tonight and we have really been able to close things down, but unfortunately for us tonight we needed to play 80 minutes and not 78.”

The two teams went into the break tied. The Wildcats are the only team in the Big North that has either been tied or had the lead at halftime in every league game this season.

Alpena came out in the second half and applied pressure early. For the second time in the contest, Alpena’s Anna Young did her best to outrun a pair of Titan defenders, but couldn’t get a clean shot away just outside of the box.

As the game went on, the Wildcats began to wear down and West began applying pressure of its own.

The final 10 minutes of the game belonged to the Titans as they were able to keep the ball in Alpena’s end and the late throw in set up the game-winning goal from Dobrowolski with just over two minutes to play.

“Jaelyn sure would look better in Alpena green like she used to wear, but that obviously isn’t the case. Our defense did a tremendous job on her throughout the course of the game, but later on in the game they out-athleticized us with some speed and fitness,” Storch said. “We have been in all of our games and we realistically could be a lot better than what our record indicates and we’d like to have a few games back, but I’m happy with the way we have been playing lately and how we have improved, we just need to be able to finish the job.”

Alpena is now 8-5 overall on the year and drops to 2-3 in BNC play.