Soldotna’s Bay Bloom kicks the ball in front of Houston’s Bella Russell on Friday, May 10, 2024, at Soldotna High School in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Bay Bloom kicks the ball in front of Houston’s Bella Russell on Friday, May 10, 2024, at Soldotna High School in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Friday soccer: Nikiski sweeps Redington, SoHi sweeps on senior night

The Soldotna girls and boys soccer teams celebrated senior night by sweeping Houston on Friday in nonconference action.

The Soldotna girls won 7-0 to move to 11-0-2 overall, while the Stars boys also won 7-0 to move to 12-0-1 overall.

Soldotna coach Jimmy Love said there was a lot to celebrate on senior night, but he also added that it was nice to get one game closer to the regular season being over on an afternoon where a cold wind ripped down corner flags the entire game.

“I am just waiting to get through the regular season,” Love said. “The weather’s not helpful, the injuries aren’t helpful and the illnesses aren’t helpful.”

Love said that normally in a game like this, he would have subbed out some seniors after getting a comfortable lead, but he kept them in because it was senior night.

The coach said the players were smart about staying out of harm’s way.

Soldotna led 6-0 after the first half.

The goals were Teagen Kobylarz from Jillian Duncan, Sadie Lane from Emily O’Reagan and Morgan Lemm, Duncan unassisted, Lemm from Duncan, Lemm from Grayson Henry and Kate Cox, and O’Reagan from Henry.

O’Reagan finished the scoring in the second half with help from Alex Lee.

Ryan Queen and Isabella Rodriguez combined for the shutout in net.

The seniors for SoHi are Clara Jost, Erin Einerson, Rodriguez, Kaytlin McAnelly, Lemm, Bay Bloom and Lee.

“I’ve had some really tight senior classes, but this one ranks up there among the top,” Love said. “There’s just something different about this group.”

Love said it’s been great working with all of them, from McAnelly for just one year to Bloom, Lemm, Lee and Rodriguez for four years and even longer in some cases.

Soldotna boys 7, Houston 0

Like Love, SoHi boys coach Erik Dolphin said it was nice to get through senior night with a victory and an unbeaten season still intact.

“To be perfectly honest, I don’t like senior night that much,” Dolphin said. “As much fun as it is for the kids, it makes the game really difficult to play.

“It messes up the warmup and it’s a different experience. And the wind was a humongous factor.”

Dolphin said senior night also leads to lineup changes. He started the game will all seniors on the field, except for goalie Luke Hillyer. Hillyer shared the shutout with Bryan Berg.

Going against the wind, SoHi scored twice in the first half. In the 32nd minute, Nuno Venturi knocked in a goal off a Houston defender. Just before halftime, Simon Willets bombed in a long shot after a pass from Venturi.

In the second half, Zac Buckbee assisted Johnny Wardas, Lane Hillyer assisted Venturi, Zac Buckbee scored unassisted, Andrew Arthur scored unassisted and Collin Peck scored unassisted.

Dolphin said it was particularly nice to watch Buckbee and Peck score goals on which they beat multiple defenders before putting the ball in the net from up close. The coach said both cleaned up at a SoHi school awards ceremony this week.

“We have a bunch of guys that are super high character individuals,” Dolphin said. “They’re not just great players but they’re great people.

“I’m just proud to have been lucky enough to coach these guys.”

Dolphin said he coached almost all of the seniors at middle school. He said he has known some for longer than that due to his work with the Boys and Girls Club.

The seniors are Venturi, Arthur, Jordan Heins, Gage Trent, Gehret Medcoff, Buckbee, Charlie Ray, Jace O’Reagan, Declan Culver and Collin Peck.

Nikiski girls 8, Redington 1

The host Bulldogs notched a nonconference victory Friday to move to 2-8-0 overall.

Nikiski coach Angie Coelho wrote in a text message that her team came out fired up for senior night. Coelho said she looked back in the program’s records and can’t find another game where the Bulldogs reached eight goals.

Zoey Ellis scored four times, while Ashlynne Playle had three and Alexa Iyatunguk added one.

The seniors for Nikiski are Ellis, Emma Weeks, Sabrina McMillen, Giaseena Nicks, Wynter Yeager, Brooke Abel and Fairyn Townsend.

Nikiski boys 3, Redington 0

The host Bulldogs are 2-8-0 after a Friday nonconference victory.

Kevin Love stopped a penalty shot to keep the sheet clean for the Bulldogs.

The goals came from Dylan Hall, Kazu Yukawa and Oliver Parrish.

Nikiski honored seniors Robert Isabell, Johnny Ralston, Jakob Martin and Seth Payne.

Kenai girls 4, Palmer 0

The host Kardinals moved to 11-2-1 with a Friday nonconference victory against the Moose.

“The wind was rocking and made it difficult to play,” Kenai coach Dan Verkuilen wrote in a text message. “We had a bunch of good chances in the first half but went scoreless.”

Verkuilen wrote that Kenai then put in four goals in the second half and rested the starters.

The goals were a penalty kick from Kylee Verkuilen, Verkuilen off a Tait Cooper assist, Sarah Baisden off a Verkuilen assist, and Lily Langham unassisted.

Maddie Malone posted the shutout for Kenai.

Kenai boys 2, Palmer 2

The host Kardinals came back from a 2-0 hole to secure a nonconference draw Friday. Kenai is 8-4-1 overall.

The goals came from Sawyer Vann and Trae Pitsch. Kenai coach Shane Lopez wrote in a text message that it was nice to see the way his players encouraged each other and battled back.

Soldotna’s Declan Culver dribbles against Houston’s Dustin Vandermee on Friday, May 10, 2024, at Soldotna High School in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Declan Culver dribbles against Houston’s Dustin Vandermee on Friday, May 10, 2024, at Soldotna High School in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Grayson Henry tries to play through the defense of Houston’s Lo Mongolia and Dallas Massie on Friday, May 10, 2024, at Soldotna High School in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Grayson Henry tries to play through the defense of Houston’s Lo Mongolia and Dallas Massie on Friday, May 10, 2024, at Soldotna High School in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Nuno Venturi puts a move on Houston’s Parker Bethel on Friday, May 10, 2024, at Soldotna High School in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Nuno Venturi puts a move on Houston’s Parker Bethel on Friday, May 10, 2024, at Soldotna High School in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

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