The Cook Inlet Academy coed soccer team braved the elements and the opposing defense Thursday in Fairbanks at the Borealis Conference soccer tournament.
Connor Leaf scored twice as the Eagles picked up a 2-1 win over Su Valley to open their tournament.
CIA will face Tri Valley — which lost 12-1 to Delta — Friday at 10:45 a.m. If CIA wins, they will face Delta at 5:45 p.m. with a chance to advance to Saturday’s championship game.
Wasilla Lake and Birchwood Christian both made the decision to skip the trip up north.
CIA coach Kenny Leaf wrote in an email that the recent dump of snow interior Alaska received did nothing to deter the Eagles from making the trip, adding that the team helped clear some of the white stuff off the field prior to Thursday’s game.
“All in all, the field is fast and a little slick, but quite playable,” Leaf wrote.
Jiabao Leaf had a shot ricochet off the post in the 30th minute, and CIA finally cashed in just five minutes later, as Connor Leaf shook loose a defender and sent home the goal for a 1-0 lead that the Eagles kept at halftime.
Meijan Leaf suffered an injury just 20 minutes in, costing CIA the speed they she normally exhibits on the outside lanes.
However, Su Valley equalized just 16 minutes into the second half on a shot that initially rebounded off CIA goalkeeper Brady Hammond.
The goal cost CIA the shutout, which would have earned the Eagles a point for a clean sheet. However, coach Leaf wrote that it helped CIA return to its attacking style of offense, and a shot on goal by Connor Leaf resulted in a hand ball in the goalie box by Su Valley and a penalty shot by Leaf, which he converted into a 2-1 lead for CIA.
Coach Leaf added that a late goal by Breona Delon was disallowed by an offsides call, but solid defensive play by Noah Leaf, Kate Zimmerman and Maddy Carey helped secure the win.
In other games, Lumen Christi beat Nenana 2-0, Holy Rosary beat Nenana 8-0 and Holy Rosary beat Lumen 3-0.