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Wildcats can’t get offense going in loss to Falcons

News Photo by James Andersen Alpena’s Joe Williams (9) fights for control of the ball around midfield with Ogemaw Heights’ Nick Whisman during the first half of a boys soccer game on Wednesday at Park Family Field at Wildcat Stadium. Also pictured is Alpena’s Jack Cook.

Alpena High boys soccer coach Tim Storch knows his team is going to experience some growing pains this year and Wednesday’s game against Ogemaw Heights was a prime example of why.

The Wildcats suffered their first loss of the season–losing to the Falcons 1-0 at Park Family Field at Wildcat Stadium–after being unable to get quality shots on goal and after being outworked by a more experienced team.

Lucas Courtemanche’s goal just 59 seconds into the second half was the only goal Ogemaw needed to score a win over their former Big North Conference rivals. Courtemanche converted a shot in close off a free kick, putting a ball past Alpena keeper Mason Bray.

The Falcons outshot Alpena (3-1-1) 8-6 for the game and were aggressive from the get-go, keeping Alpena’s keepers and defense on their toes.

“We knew it’d be a tough match coming because our JV lost to their JV last year 3-1 and now our JV is essentially starting at the varsity level,” Storch said. “They were just more polished. They were more physical in a smart way; we got physical in stupid ways, but they won 50-50 battles and they were just a more polished varsity team. You could see our youth and inexperience.”

News Photo by James Andersen Alpena’s Andrew Dargis (14) attempts to dribble the ball away from Ogemaw Heights’ Nick Whisman.

A few days after besting three opponents by a combined 18-0 score, the Wildcats couldn’t elevate their level of play to match that of the Falcons. Ogemaw had at least a handful of strong scoring chances in the first 10 minutes of the game and a had a few near misses in the last 10 minutes of the first half.

A defensive miscommunication nearly resulted in Courtemanche scoring with seven minutes left. He nearly scored again with 2:10 left after tapping a slow roller toward the goal that ultimately went out of bounds to the left of the goal line.

Abe Brege had a good scoring chance for the Wildcats with 19:46 left in the game, just missing on a header off of a corner kick. It was one of the better chances Alpena had on a night when it didn’t get many of them.

“We had six shots, but I don’t remember a quality shot,” Storch said. “We took some stupid shots. I equate it to a basketball player taking a shot from the deep corner and trying to put it over the corner of the backboard. Those are dumb shots and we took a lot of dumb shots.”

Alpena will host Sault Ste. Marie on Friday at 5 p.m.

News Photo by James Andersen Alpena’s Sam Cook (18) jostles for position with Ogemaw Heights’ Nick Whisman.

The Wildcats’ JV team lost 3-1 to Ogemaw on Wednesday.

News Photo by James Andersen Alpena keeper Matt Diamond punts a ball away during the first half.

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