OSCODA – The Oscoda soccer team was already North Star League champions. The Owls capped off the conference season with an undefeated exclamation point on Monday, Oct. 12, when it dominated visiting Whittemore-Prescott, 9-0.
“It was nice to finish undefeated in our league but the banner that hangs in the gym symbolizes and reminds players of the great season they had for many years,” head coach Don Axline said. “My graduating seniors will leave a huge void on the varsity team. Players like Aiden Backstrom and Ben Berekowski will be missed and leave important roles for underclassmen to fill.”
With the league title already under wraps, the Owls elected to start their junior varsity players in the game. The underclassmen showed off their skills, building a 4-0 lead through the first 25 minutes.
“The JV had not fared well against their schedule of highly competitive teams so as a morale booster and an indicator of their individual improvement, starting them against a North Star League varsity team was a great way to finish off their season,” Axline said.
It took 15 minutes into the game for the Owls to find the scoreboard. Aaron Ellis stopped about 20-yards out from the goal, and blasted a high shot, that snuck under the crossbar for the 1-0 lead.
Isaiah Spragg followed that with two goals, netting his first with 22:09 to play in the half and the second with 17:21 to go. Spragg’s first shot was a hard blast from about 16 yards out and his second was similar to Ellis’ in that it was a high shot that snuck between the W-P goalkeeper’s hands and the crossbar.
Just over two minutes later, Jace Hulverson sent a ball into the top left corner of the net, making the score 4-0 and prompting the varsity squad to be sent in with 14:56 to go in the half.
From there the varsity players put on a goal-scoring show, blasting five goals in less than 15 minutes of game time, ending the game via mercy at the half, 9-0.
Scoring the final five goals were John Stephan, Michael Wrona, Lewis Axline, Ben Berenkowski and Michael Stepp. Quentin Leys and James London had two assists each and Jayden Wrusch, Ellis, Austin Birkenbach and Axline had one assist each.
The Owls outshot the Cardinals 29-1 on the night.
“Both teams have a family-like atmosphere outside of practice and on the field and after watching the JV and their success, the varsity team was eager to take the field,” Axline said. “Like a race horse at the beginning of a race, it was hard to slow them down right out of the gates.”
Oscoda (9-4-3 overall, 6-0 NSL) played at Alcona (5-12) in a division four district semi-finals on Tuesday. The winner plays in the district finals on Saturday, also in Alcona. Roscommon (10-6-1) and Fairview (4-4) played in the other semi-final.
“The hope for the team is to play in district finals against mostly likely Roscommon,” Axline said. “Keys to our success; first winning for the fourth time against Alcona and going to district finals 100-percent healthy as a team.”