2007-08-30 / Sports

Bobcat netters drop three in early season struggles

DOUBLE D (Above) Houghton Lake defenders Justin Wigard (12) and Bo Bradley (10) converge on Gladwin forward Matt Sawaya (15). (Right) Houghton Lake senior captain Mark Lorenz (15) wrests control of the ball from Gladwin's Mitch Sauve (21) during a game at Bobcat Field Friday. The 'Cats lost 3-2. DOUBLE D (Above) Houghton Lake defenders Justin Wigard (12) and Bo Bradley (10) converge on Gladwin forward Matt Sawaya (15). (Right) Houghton Lake senior captain Mark Lorenz (15) wrests control of the ball from Gladwin's Mitch Sauve (21) during a game at Bobcat Field Friday. The 'Cats lost 3-2. The early season has been rough on Houghton Lake's varsity soccer team as the Bobcats lost three matches in the last week.

Monday night the Bobcats lost 2-1 to Pine River, after losing 3-2 to Gladwin Friday, and 3-0 to Ogemaw Heights Aug. 22.

"Our defense continues to make the same errors each game," Coach Scott Bockelman said. "Unfortunately, I think this will be an ongoing problem we have to work through."

In their loss Monday to Pine River the Bobcats scored first on a goal by Adam Taylor, after he made "some nice moves for a shot past the keeper," Bockelman said. Taylor had an assist from Zach Burnside.

Pine River didn't waste any time tying the game after the Bobcat defense had several miscues trying to pressure the ball, Bockelman said. The half ended 1-1.

Photos by Thomas Reznich Photos by Thomas Reznich "Pine River came out with a renewed competitiveness and took an early lead after a shot in the net resulting from a failed clear by our keeper and confusion on defense to clear the goal box," Bockelman said.

The Bobcats had several "quality shots" on goal Bockelman said.

He credited midfield freshmen Eric Goodwin and Evan Linskey for coming off the bench and aiding the Bobcat cause.

They "continue to impress me with their skills and competitiveness. They are receiving well earned minutes as a result," Bockelman said.

GLADWIN 3, BOBCATS 2

The Flying Gs and the Bobcats had "a very competitive and evenly played game," Bockelman said.

Gladwin struck first with a goal after six minutes of play with an uncontested shot from the corner of the penalty line.

The Bobcats countered on an assist by Burnside to Brian Moore, who launched a shot off of the goal keeper to tie the game.

Unfortunately, the Flying Gs added another goal in the half on a shot that had "little defensive pressure," Bockelman said. The third Gladwin goal was on a corner kick with a wide open header past the Bobcat goal keeper.

Travis Pitcher and Brian Moore mounted a comeback in front of the net and brought the score to 3- 2, unfortunately time ran out after a couple of Bobcat shots.

"While we gave ourselves numerous chances both offensively and defensively to win this contest, we failed to do so," Bockelman said. "The forwards and mids need to concentrate more on their shots and not just launch the ball. We missed a couple of empty netters because of this wild shooting. Defensively, we have four seniors and a third year keeper who are making the same mental and tactical errors."

Pitcher was credited for his switching to defensive midfield following his offensive goal.

FALL TO FALCONS

Ogemaw Heights' offense was as hot as the temperature as the Falcons soared to a 3-0 victory Aug. 22 despite an aggressive Bobcat defense.

"Ogemaw passes very well and moves the ball upfield to launch quick counter-attacks. Our defense played outstanding against a better team going into the half at a 0- 0 tie, and keeper Cam Warner made some nice saves to help keep us in the game, as usual," Bockelman said.

Some wild Bobcat shots missed their mark after the "tide of the game changed in the second half on a ball that failed to be cleared and dribbled by Warner," Bockelman said.

"After that the defense let down a little and the Falcons slipped a goal right through the middle of the line. The third one followed soon after on a defense tip in," Bockelman said.

"Overall, the Cats played as hard as I have seen them in the last two years of coaching. Even though they were exhausted, especially on defense, they never quit," Bockelman said. "Our bench is very young so the starters have to put in long minutes if not play the whole game. It caught up with us tonight with the heat and humidity."

Cody Franz and Adam Taylor earned their coach's praise. Franz is "developing into a nice defensive player," Bockelman said, and Taylor, who is able to play both in the midfield or on defense.

The Bobcats played Clare Aug. 29 and will travel to Tawas Sept. 4.

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