The Cook Inlet Academy coed soccer team finished off the fall season with a flourish Saturday, emerging victorious in penalty kicks over Holy Rosary in the Aurora Borealis Conference tournament championship at the Kenai Sports Complex fields.
The win gave the Eagles five conference championships in the last six years. The only nonchampionship year was a third-place result last year.
CIA played Saturday’s title game to a scoreless draw in regulation, then played an additional overtime period before heading to PKs.
Holy Rosary started the PKs with a successful shot, but senior Noah Leaf had his shot blocked by Holy Rosary goalkeeper Eric Bjelland.
In the second round, CIA goalkeeper Brady Hammond turned away Holy Rosary’s shot, and sophomore James Anderson converted for CIA to tie it up.
Holy Rosary and CIA both scored in the third round, as Dalton Warren’s shot went in for the Eagles, but in the fourth round, both shots were blocked. Kate Zimmerman took the shot for CIA.
In the fifth and final round, Hammond saved Holy Rosary’s shot, and sophomore Adara Warren scored the winner to clinch the victory.
“I’m surprised she doesn’t receive more recognition,” wrote CIA coach Kenny Leaf in an email. “She’s one of the best players we have, boy or girl, and she has ice water flowing through her veins.”
In the normal course of play, Leaf said Noah Leaf provided a half dozen shots on goal, but none were successful.
For CIA, the overtime finish was nothing new. The Eagles defeated Delta earlier in the season at the Tri Valley Tournament, and on Friday, CIA outlasted Su Valley with two sets of penalty kicks.
Noah Leaf was named MVP of the tournament, while Breona Delon was named to the All-Conference team and Brady Hammond was named Goalkeeper of the year.
Also, Gabe Bignell, Hunter Moos, Kate Zimmerman and Leaf were all named to the All-Academic team.
In other games, SuValley topped Tri Valley 2-0 in a consolation semifinal, Delta Junction beat Lumen Christi 2-1 in the other consolation semifinal, and Delta finished the day with a 2-0 win in the third-place game over Su Valley.
Cook Inlet Academy 3, Susitna Valley 2
Friday, the Eagles made the final of the Borealis Conference tournament with a victory on penalty kicks over the Rams.
CIA had defeated Su Valley twice this season, but the Rams led 1-0 at the half on a goal from Blake Drover.
Just two minutes into the second half, the Rams had a goal disallowed due to offsides, and CIA stormed back when Noah Leaf drew a free kick and took it. Hunter Moos tapped the rebound to Jiabao Leaf to equalize.
But just five minutes later Drover scored again. In the 54th minute, Noah Leaf once again drew a foul and quickly took the free kick to equalize.
With fatigue setting in, neither team scored the rest of the game or the 10-minute overtime.
In penalty kicks, CIA tied the first round of five 3-3, with Noah Leaf, Dalton Warren and Kate Zimmerman scoring and Brady Hammond making a save.
CIA won the second set 2-1, with James Anderson and Moos scoring, and Hammond making a pair of saves.
Holy Rosary Academy 1, Delta Junction 0
In the other Friday semifinal, Holy Rosary triumphed in a repeat of last year’s Borealis Conference championship game behind a goal by Zach Smith in the 10th minute.
Tri Valley 3, Nenana 1
Tri Valley advanced through the third-place bracket despite losing its starting goalie early in the match.
Lumen Christi 2, Birchwood Christian 1
Lumen advanced through the third-place bracket by winning on penalty kicks.