The Alpena girls soccer team was only down 1-0 against Traverse City Central on Thursday at the half, but by the time the game was over, Central had scored four more goals in the last 28 minutes of the game to shut out the Wildcats 5-0.
Alpena coach Tim Storch did not mince his words after the game.
"For the first 50 minutes, we went toe-to-toe with them but in the last 30 minutes, we gave up four goals. This is a trademark of a lack of soccer fitness and acumen and shows we lack the fitness and acumen to play 80 minutes against a Big North competitor," he said.
News Photo by Eric Benac
Alpena’s Megan Martin (2) moves to intercept Traverse City Central’s Grace Stanton (black) dribble while Alpena teammate Emily Duncan (21) watches in a game at Wildcat Stadium on Thursday. Central shut out Alpena 5-0.
It marked the second time this week Alpena has been shutout this week. The Wildcats fell 5-0 in a shortened game against Traverse City West on Tuesday.
The first three goals of the second half came in a 10-minute period that saw Jaylna Cisneros, Sophie Lutz and Midi Battle all score for Central. There were five minutes between each goal, with the first coming with 28 minutes left, the second with 23 left and the third with 18 minutes left.
Battle scored the first goal for the Trojans 19 minutes into the first half with an assist by Grace Stanton, while Cisneros scored the last goal of the game with just under a minute left in the game.
Alpena players like Anneliese Mathia, Chris Trafelet and Emily Duncan played a good game, but many of the girls on the field seemed to lack the hustle and competitive drive that highlighted the first half play.
In spite of having five goals scored on her, Alpena keeper Carley Hoeksema had a solid night at goal, blocking several close shots throughout the night.
Unfortunately for Hoeksema, the Trojans got the chance to push offensively far too often in the second half as the Wildcats struggled to break up plays or to mount their own offensive drives.
There were a few chances for the Wildcats to score throughout the night. Lexi Rushing had a great breakaway chance with 15 minutes left in the first half that was successfully broken up by keeper Katie Wheeler.
Isabelle O'Neil had a great breakaway opportunity with 19 minutes left in the second half, but the tight defense of the Trojans shut it down. Trafelet also had a chance with seven minutes left, but couldn't quite get where she needed to be to score.
The Wildcats were able to hold the Trojans scoreless for 20 minutes in the first half and played tight offense and defense the rest of the half, but couldn't keep up with Central as the game finished.
"They're not going to have the soccer fitness and acumen to play against anybody in the Big North until they dedicate themselves to soccer year round, performing fitness routines when they're out of school and even running cross country to build up their stamina," Storch said.
Alpena is now 3-5 overall and 1-3 in the Big North. The Wildcats play in Gaylord today.
Eric Benac can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac.