A day after the energy and exuberance lifted the Homer boys to a 3-1 upset win over Service, the Mariners were brought back down with a 1-0 loss to Colony in Friday’s state soccer semifinals at Anchorage Football Stadium.
The loss leaves Homer with a 1:15 p.m. matchup Saturday with South for a chance at the tournament third-place crown. The Wolverines lost to Dimond 3-0 Friday.
“They were better than we were today,” conceded Homer coach Warren Waldorf. “We didn’t create too many good chances today. But you never know, it doesn’t take us too long to score, either.”
Colony put more shots on goal than Homer with a 21-2 advantage, and took nine corner kicks to Homer’s zero.
But with all the pressure on Homer goalie Brian Rowe and his defensive line, it wasn’t until the second minute of the second half that the Knights scored. Chris Olsen received a corner kick near the left post of the Homer goal and guided it in for the lone goal of the match.
“I guess everybody was a little surprised that Homer was able to beat Service (on Thursday),” said Colony coach Jeremy Johnson. “It’s always different in the playoffs, everybody tightens it up and plays differently, and there’s always factors like injuries during the season that you don’t always see.”
Waldorf said he didn’t believe the loss was a letdown after Thursday’s impressive win, but said he also didn’t believe his squad showed their best colors on Friday.
“We don’t have a whole lot of room to get down on ourselves,” Waldorf said. “So what, we’re in the third-place game? That’s good, we’ll see someone new.”
The starkest example of how much more power Colony was working with was in the pregame ceremonies, as all starting players were introduced to the crowd midfield. With all 11 players out on the field, Colony still had a bench full of players, whereas Homer’s bench was nearly devoid of people.
“All the credit’s to the kids,” Waldorf said. “Defensively, they played very well, and that’s why we’re here. We’re dangerous, it doesn’t take us very long to score and we have a good defense.”
Colony started fast, getting several looks on the Homer net. In the ninth minute, Kyle Bolam took a shot that was initially batted down by Rowe, but nearly trickled in behind him at the left goalpost.
Bolam again had a chance in the 35th minute, getting a cross from a teammate and nearly knocking it in.
“We felt like we created a lot of chances,” Johnson said. “I think their goalie made some nice saves, we missed a few, and again, credit to their defense.”
Homer found its chances as well, as Quinn Daugharty found space behind the Colony defensive line and nearly missed on the left goalpost.
Ultimately, the first half ended scoreless but with an 8-1 shots advantage belonging to Colony.
“You press the kids up that have had the most success for us,” Waldorf said about the final minutes. “It just didn’t happen for us. Colony has a lot of experience, and it’s tough to break through that.”
With five minutes left in the game, the Knights had a goal off a corner kick waived off because the shot arced behind the back line and was technically out of bounds.
If the Mariners win Saturday’s third-place game against South, it will be the best finish at state by a Homer boys squad.