The Cook Inlet Academy coed soccer team took fourth place at the Borealis Conference tournament, the de facto state tournament for fall soccer, over the weekend in Anchorage, losing the third-place game to Wasilla Lake 3-2 on Saturday at Begich Middle School.
After the top-seeded Eagles (17-3 overall) were upset by No. 3 seed Delta Junction 3-1 on Friday, CIA defeated Tri-Valley 3-2 on penalties early Saturday before seeing Wasilla Lake score three goals in the last 21 minutes of the game to overcome a 2-0 deficit.
Adara Warren gave CIA a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute, then just four minutes into the second half Hunter Moos finished a cross from Linnaea Dohse for a 2-0 lead, but CIA could not make it hold up.
In Saturday’s first game, CIA survived a close game against Tri-Valley. The game was tied at 2 after regulation and overtime, then CIA won 3-2 on penalty kicks.
In penalty kicks, both teams missed on the first two rounds. Sophie Nelson then stepped up for CIA and buried her attempt, but the Viking Warriors answered right back. Jiabao Leaf scored for CIA, but again Tri-Valley answered back. James Anderson then scored for CIA, and goalie Lucas Cragg was able to make a diving save to win the game.
Tri-Valley had lost to CIA four times this season coming into the game, but the Viking Warriors also knew they defeated CIA on penalties in the Borealis Conference finals a year ago. Tri-Valley came out and scored in the 12th minute.
CIA had possession and opportunities, and finally in the 47th minute the Eagles equalized when Moos sent a corner kick in that Sophie Nelson finished. Just a few minutes later, Moos scored for the lead, but in the final minute Tri-Valley scored to send the game to penalties.
Friday, CIA coach Kenny Leaf said Delta scored in the 28th minute and then withdrew to a tight, defensive posture.
“In the second half, we did everything we could to put something in the goal and it just wasn’t happening,” Leaf said. “We had our chances — left, right, over the crossbar, off the post — but we couldn’t equalize.”
Leaf said goalie Lucas Cragg did a good job keeping it to a one-goal game. He also said central defenders Jiabao Leaf and Isaac Johnson were effective in joining the attack.
“This was as hard as the kids have worked all season,” coach Leaf said. “They did everything but score goals.
“In the end, I told the kids this is just God teaching us something through defeat, where the most important lessons come sometimes.”
All-conference selections for the Eagles included Leaf, Dohse and Sophie Nelson, with Moos and Addie Nelson taking MVP honors. All-tournament selections for CIA were Leaf, Anderson and Addie Nelson, while tournament MVPs were Moos and Sophie Nelson.
Cook Inlet also received the sportsmanship award, while Kenny Leaf was coach of the year.