Wildcats sleepwalk through first half, fall to Cadillac

News Photo by Jonny Zawacki Alpena’s Macy Dickinson (7) battles with Cadillac’s Lydia Schamanek (16) for control of the ball during the second half of a Big North Conference girls soccer game on Tuesday at Wildcat Stadium.

Playing in front of a home crowd on Senior Night against a Big North Conference rival didn’t seem to be enough motivation for the Alpena girls soccer team on Tuesday.

The Wildcats got off to a slow start, fell behind early and despite a strong second half effort, Alpena dug itself too big of a hole and fell to Cadillac 6-2 at Wildcat Stadium.

“It was weird, the first half of this game was like a continuation of the second half of our last game. The first time we played Cadillac we led at the half and played really hard in the first half and then the second half we were sleepwalking. It was the same situation tonight in the first half, sleepwalking like we didn’t want to be there,” Alpena coach Tim Storch said. “The second half we were a completely different team and really carried the play despite the two late goals we allowed. We had them (Cadillac) a little concerned late when we were pressing, but they’re too good of a team to spot four goals before we start playing hard.”

Cadillac got a pair of goals from Karli Scott and one from Bella Smith as the Vikings held a 3-0 lead at the break, scoring three goals on four shots, while holding Alpena to just one shot in the first half.

Cadillac quickly extended the lead to four goals when Smith found the back of the net again, going around the Wildcat defense and scoring less than two minutes into the second half.

Trailing 4-0, Alpena had no choice but to starting pressing and applying pressure. The Wildcats got on the board with 33:43 remaining in the game when Macy Dickinson sent a ball into the back of the net past a crowd of bodies in front of the net.

Alpena kept pressing and cut eventually cut the lead to two with 16:11 left to play when Dickinson found the back of the net for the second time, controlling a ball off of a corner kick and putting it into the back of the net.

“We did play hard in the second half and that’s what I expect. I’d like to see what we’d do against them (Cadillac) playing a complete game and hopefully we get a chance in the districts. I really liked our intensity and effort in the second half, but my question was where the heck was it the first 40 minutes,” Storch said. “It was like our slow start was contagious because everyone was slow coming out. It was like we all had a case of mononucleosis and there wasn’t much energy or effort there in the first 40 minutes, but the second 40 I think it was a pride factor where they said they were embarrassing themselves and they know they’re better than that.”

After batting back to cut the lead to 4-2 with 16:11 to play, the Wildcats continued to press and did their best to apply pressure and create scoring chances. But it also gave Cadillac opportunities to find holes in the Alpena defense and Scott put the Vikings up 5-2 by netting her third goal to record a hat trick as she sent a shot at Josalyn Bailey.

Bailey made the initial save, but Scott corralled the rebound and sent it into the back of the net.

Less than two minutes later, Smith scored her third goal to record a hat trick and put Cadillac back up by four.

“I told the girls that this is on them. At some point they have to own their work ethic and their energy level. The second half they did and I still like our team if we play 80 minutes against anybody,” Storch said. “We’re only as good as our work ethic and we’re only as good as our energy level, attacking and defending. I’m going to take a long look at some different things that I did like tonight, but it comes down to us putting together a full 80 minute game.”

The Wildcats are now 12-9-3 overall on the season and 3-4-2 in BNC play. Alpena will be back in action on Thursday when they travel to Traverse City to take on the Traverse City West Titans.