The Alpena girls soccer team hosted Tawas on Monday and although it may not have been their cleanest win of the season, the Wildcats shut down the Braves 1-0.
The win gives the Wildcats their fourth shutout of the season and keeper Carley Hoeksema's third of the year.
"There's an old adage that says you're always supposed to celebrate a victory. It may have been a bit sloppy but it was a win nonetheless," Alpena coach Tim Storch said.
News Photo by Eric Benac
Natalie Nowakowski (right) of Alpena comes in for the attack as Lauren Hedglin of Tawas tries to boot it past her. Alpena won this Monday matchup at Wildcat Stadium 1-0.
The only goal of the night came 13 minutes into the game off the boot of Rieke Hoffner.
Earlier in the half, Tawas showed some solid offensive play, but Alpena was able to turn it around and take several shots that just about made it in the net.
Keying the offense was Alex Prezewozniak, who out-maneuvered Braves' defenders regularly. Her speed and quick jukes gave her the opportunity to hover around the goal and set up scoring chances that Alpena simply couldn't convert.
"When you leave so many goals hanging and let them (Tawas) hang around too long it usually leads to problems. Fortunately, my back line of Emily Duncan, Emily Code, Megan Martin and Anneliese Mathia was able to hold them off," Storch said.
Strong defensive play from Tawas players such as Maria Bacarella and Erica Beavers helped Tawas keep Alpena to a one point spread to end the half.
Przewozniak opened up a few excellent chances in the second half, including a shot 27 minutes into the second that hung just behind the goalie. A second, similar scoring chance came a minute later, but it didn't drop in the net.
These scoring chances for Alpena came about due to more focus and the offense taking time to set up plays.
"There's some good signs that they're starting to pick it up," Storch said.
Other scoring chances came from Duncan, who nearly booted a long goal shot about 10 minutes into the half. Duncan also consistently set up solid plays that coulda-woulda-scored but didn't quite make it.
Hoeksema didn't see a lot of close shots, but she was able to be in the right position when she was needed and never seemed to lose focus throughout the game, even as she spent minutes at a time watching her team's offensive drives from the other side of the field.
"Carley did a good job getting those long shots and got her hands on a few close ones," Storch said.
The Braves played more solid offense in the second half to get a few shots and corner kick chances. They were more successful at getting the ball near the net, but the Wildcats were able to maintain solid defensive pressure.
Solid play by Isabelle O'Neil and Natalie Nowakowski was key to shutting down any Tawas offensive pressure. The Braves were also hampered by the los of Kaytlyn Jackson, who sat out most of the second half after taking a ball to the face.
Alpena hosts Gaylord tonight, the top team in the Big North Conference.
"We got the win tonight but if they don't play better against the number one team, it's gonna be a long night," Storch said.
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