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West’s experience too much for Wildcats in loss

News Photo by James Andersen Alpena’s Joe Williams, left, blocks a crossing attempt by Traverse City West’s Dune Jung during the first half of a boys soccer game at Park Family Field at Wildcat Stadium.

With each game, the Alpena High boys soccer team continues to grow, continues to learn from its mistakes and continues to gain experience.

Unfortunately for the Wildcats, no amount of experience gained this season could slow down Traverse City West and its freight train of an offense on Tuesday.

Tony Gallegos recorded a hat trick, Gavin Michael scored twice and five different West players found the back of the net as the Titans rolled past Alpena for an 8-0 mercy-rule win at Park Family Field at Wildcat Stadium.

Alpena (7-6-1, 0-4 Big North Conference) did its best to stay with the Titans in the early going, but the experience levels between the two squads was too vast and the Titans proved hard to keep up with for most of the game.

A goal from Colin Blackport on an assist from Gallegos gave West the win just 1:45 into the second half.

“Unfortunately this was not a surprise. They’ve got nine guys back from a team lost in overtime in the Division 1 state finals and we’re starting six sophomores,” Alpena coach Tim Storch said. “We did some nice things, but the last goal they scored, that’s what I’m going to highlight to my team. That’s exactly what we’re trying to do in training: play one and two-touch (soccer) with quick passing and a lot of pace.”

Gallegos set the tone for West right out of the gate, nearing scoring 20 seconds in, but having his goal waved off due to being offsides. He eventually found the back of the net about eight minutes in, opening the floodgates for West’s offense.

Michael made it 2-0 with 25:51 left and Gallegos scored again with 20:56 left, outracing Alpena keeper Matt Diamond to the ball.

Alpena’s defense didn’t its best to contain the Titans, but West’s strikers routinely found themselves with space to dribble and had perhaps a dozen scoring chances that didn’t miss the mark by much.

Gallegos outran a couple of Alpena defenders to put complete his hat trick with 17:13 left in the first half and Josh Hirshenberger put West up 5-0 with 13:51 left, converting on a corner kick.

Cooper Davis found the back of the net with 8:01 remaining and Michael scored again with 2:03 left after West got a numbers advantage in the offensive zone.

“They play soccer the way soccer should be played. It’s meant to be a passing game, not a dribbling game, not a 1-v-1 (1-on-1) game,” Storch said. “It’s supposed to be pinged around on the carpet (soccer field) and they do that.”

Alpena hosts Traverse City Central on Thursday.

Alpena’s JV team lost to West, 7-1.

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