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Senior Night success

Wildcats shut out Alcona, break school record

News Photo by Jonny Zawacki Alpena’s Hunter Canute (13) and Alcona’s Brett Nelson (19) battle for a loose ball during a soccer game on Monday at Park Family Field at Wildcat Stadium. The Wildcats blanked the Tigers 5-0 to earn a record-breaking 13th shut out on the season.

On a night where the Alpena High boys soccer team honored its 10 seniors, this group of Wildcats made some history in a 5-0 victory over Alcona (7-4-1) on Monday at Park Family Field at Wildcat Stadium.

Not only did Alpena (13-2-1) earn its 13th victory of the season, but the Wildcats also picked up their 13th shut out of the season, breaking the previous school mark of 12 that was set in 1996.

“I told the kids before the game that this particular group of seniors, the time to get sappy and emotional will be hopefully weeks down the road at the banquet after a real good run in the (state) tournament,” Alpena coach Tim Storch said. “These guys when all is said and done, their a special group that really has made a historical run this season for Alpena soccer.”

Along with the shut out record, Alpena is also just four wins away from breaking the record for most wins by a team in school history (16), five goals away from breaking the record for most goals by an Alpena team (76) and there are a few individuals capable of breaking school records.

Goalkeeper Wenton Harrison currently has the best goals against average for a season in school history, Ivo Arvidsson-Ullberg is within striking distance of the record for goals in a season. The record is 26 and with two goals on Senior Night Arvidsson-Ullberg sits at 23 and also can set the assist record of 16 as he entered the contest with 11.

“There’s a lot of records that could be broken and most importantly, I told the guys that the biggest record I want them to get are the first Big North Conference championship for Alpena soccer and the third district title (1986, 1997),” Storch said. “Those are bigger goals and hopefully this senior class is up to that task.”

The 14th-ranked Wildcats controlled the contest from start to finish and wasted little time opening the score as Arvidsson-Ullberg netted his first of the two goals in the game just over five minutes in after gaining control of a loose ball out in front that the Tigers failed to clear.

Alpena took a 2-0 lead with 27:31 left in the first half when Caleb Eaton fired a great shot to the far corner of the net to beat Alcona keeper Aidan Wrobel to give the Wildcats a two goal lead at the break.

“I told the guys that this was really the last tune up game. All the games take on more importance from this point on with all of our key conference games coming up and games that will determine whether we’re going to be in this right until the bitter end,” Storch said. “We can’t take any team lightly from here on out and we’re going to get everyone’s best effort. We have to get better and we’re going to find out by the end of this week whether we’re going to be playing for a league title or whether we’re going to be a spoiler.”

The Wildcats extended the lead less than five minutes into the second half on a goal from Kyle Barbeau that put the home team up 3-0.

Grant Botha put Alpena up 4-0 with 23:37 to play and Arvidsson-Ullberg completed the scoring with his second goal of the night with 12:28 left to play.

The Wildcats outshot Alcona 19-0 on the night, but despite allowing five goals, the Tigers played tough and got strong goalkeeping from Wrobel who kept the score as close as he could.

“I thought we played very well defensively. Our boys stood up and made some good stops and deflected a lot of balls. I thought everyone played very well and it’s a good thing for us to move forward and I really like where we’re at. from where we started to where we’re at, we look pretty good,” Alcona coach Tim Munro said. “We have a tough stretch coming up and we’re looking forward to it. The boys are stepping up and it’s good stuff.”

Alcona returns to the field next Monday when they play the team that ended their season a year ago–Roscommon–before playing for the North Star League title next Wednesday against Oscoda. Both games will be played in Lincoln.

The Wildcats will play their final home game of the season Tuesday when they host Petoskey in a pivotal BNC matchup.

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