Weekend soccer roundup: Kenai, Colony boys play to draw

Weekend soccer roundup: Kenai, Colony boys play to draw

The Colony and Kenai Central soccer teams renewed a rivalry Friday from back in the Northern Lights Conference days with a tense 2-2 tie Friday at Colony.

Before last season, soccer split into two divisions, with Kenai going Division II and Colony going Division I. But before that, the Kardinals and Knights had plenty of high-stakes battles at the conference and state tournaments.

“Everybody battled,” Kenai Central coach Shane Lopez said after his team moved to 5-3-2. “In Colony games, you have to go 110 percent the whole time.

“These guys were itching to win against us. It’s been a long time since they won a game against Kenai. They were coming at us strong and fast and everybody played very well.”

The Kardinals trailed 2-0 at the half. Early in the second half, Damien Redder was fouled in the box, then converted the penalty kick. With about 15 minutes left, Leif Lofquist equalized.

Lopez said Redder had a chance late that went just wide.

“We were pressing for that last goal and so was Colony,” Lopez said. “It certainly could have gone either way.”

Lopez said goalie Braedon Pitsch was superb after allowing a goal late in a 1-0 loss to Wasilla on Thursday.

“That sometimes gets in a keeper’s head, especially when a couple of goals get put in on you early,” Lopez said. “Against a school like this, it’s easy to lose your nerve. He played really well.”

The coach added that Redder and Tomas Levy-Canedo worked well up front, while Tucker Vann, James Baisden and River Tomrelle were tireless in the defensive midfield.

Kenai travels to Palmer Saturday at 4 p.m.

Colony girls 3, Kenai 0

The host Knights dropped the Kardinals to 4-3-2 this season. Kenai plays at Palmer at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Soldotna girls 6, Palmer 1

The Stars moved to 8-3-2 after the Friday nonconference victory.

Soldotna led 3-0 after the first half on an unassisted goal from Cameron Blackwell, a Meijan Leaf goal from Ryann Cannava, and a Rhys Cannava goal from Leaf and Blackwell.

Within the first 10 minutes of the second half, Soldotna led 6-0. Ryann Cannava scored off a corner kick from Katharine Bramante, Rhys Cannava scored on assists from Journey Miller and Ryann Cannava, and Miller scored on an assist from Hannah Delker.

Palmer scored just past the midway mark of the second half. Katie Delker played the first half in goal for Soldotna, while Margarida Mendoca handled the second frame.

“It doesn’t matter who we play, we still have to come out and play our game,” Soldotna head coach Jimmy Love said. “We’re doing that more and more and it’s lasting longer and longer throughout the game.”

Love said SoHi has been doing well at keeping possession.

“The whole team made it happen today,” Love said. “The ball was moved from back to front and we really worked together well.”

Soldotna travels to play Wasilla at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Soldotna boys 5, Palmer 1

The Stars improved to 8-5-0 with the nonconference win on the road.

Josh Heiber had a hat trick for the Stars, who led 4-1 at the half. Alex Montague and Kaleb Swank added strikes.

Soldotna travels to play Wasilla at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Wasilla girls 4, Homer 1

The Mariners fell to 7-2-4 with the loss on the road, but Mariners head coach Mike Tozzo was more than happy with what his team got out of the game.

“It was a battle,” Tozzo said. “There was quite a bit of pushing and shoving. It was good to have a game like that. They were exhausted. I really felt like they left everything on the field.”

Homer went up 1-0 on a goal by Sela Weisser, assisted by Eve Brau. It was 1-1 at halftime before the Warriors were able to take control.

“To go ahead like that was super cool,” Tozzo said. “The girls were elated. I’ve never seen them celebrate that much before.”

Tozzo reserved special praise for Brau and goalie Ali McCarron, who stopped a penalty kick and made many other great saves.

Homer boys 1, Wasilla 0

The Mariners moved to 7-3-2 with the nonconference win over the Warriors.

Homer took a 1-0 lead at the break on a goal by Eyoab Knapp, assisted by Daniel Reutov.

Homer coach Warren Waldorf was very happy with the way his squad closed out the win, especially because there were only 11 varsity players. Knapp was injured and had to be replaced by a JV player late.

“We created a bunch of good chances in the second half,” Waldorf said. “It wasn’t like we gave up on the attack, but we played defense first. We played tough, tough defense.”

Soldotna boys 2, Wasilla 1

The visiting Stars finished strong on a Valley trip, improving to 9-5-0 overall with the nonconference win.

“It felt good,” Soldotna boys coach David Holmes said. “It was a really physical game and we were trailing 1-0 going into half.”

Josh Heiber started the comeback by scoring on a direct kick.

The Stars then mixed up something special to win the game. Heiber started the amazing sequence with a bicycle kick that served a through ball to Kaleb Swank, who just barely saved the ball from going out and crossed the ball right back to Heiber, who finished with a volley for the lead with 10 minutes remaining.

“It was highlight reel stuff,” Holmes said.

Hunter Woodward played for Soldotna in net, while Holmes said Alex Montague also had a solid game.

“Honestly, I thought they’d be pretty rattled facing such a difficult team,” Holmes said. “They weren’t. They stayed composed and played a strong game.”

Soldotna hosts Kenai at 6 p.m. Monday.

Wasilla girls 1, Soldotna 0

The Stars stand at 8-4-2 after the nonconference loss on the road.

SoHi head coach Jimmy Love said his team started off moving the ball well, but may have ran out of gas a bit near the end of the first half.

About 25 minutes into the second half, the Warriors were able to score the lone goal of the game.

“I thought we played hard and well,” Love said. “We had the opportunity to tie it and probably could have won it. We had a good weekend with having to play two Division I teams and a good Division II team in a three-day period.”

Love added that Katie Delker had a few amazing saves in net that kept the game close.

Soldotna hosts Kenai at 4 p.m. Monday.

Kenai Central boys 2, Palmer 0

The Kardinals moved to 6-3-2 with the nonconference win on the road.

Leif Lofquist struck twice in the first half as the Kards, playing their third game in three days, were able to take the lead and hold it.

“We played some guys off the bench in the second half,” Kenai Central coach Shane Lopez said. “We rang a couple bar down and out instead of bar down and in.”

Braedon Pitsch had shutout in net.

Lopez said the bench players took advantage of the minutes and played strong, with Austin Stafford and Jordan Smith standing out in that regard. Zachary Burnett and Francisco Garmen Munarriz also earned praise from the coach.

Kenai Central girls 0, Palmer 0

The Kards, after chasing around Division I opponents Wasilla and Colony on Thursday and Friday, showed signs of fatigue on the road in nonconference play in moving to 4-3-3.

“You could kind of tell the legs today were just gone,” Kenai coach Dan Verkuilen said. “In my eyes we played two really good games with Colony and Wasilla, and worked hard and went hard the entire weekend.”

The coach said the defense allowed just two shots, and Kailey Hamilton handled them for the shutout. The coach also said Karley Harden and Olivia Brewer did good things up front.

“It was a good precursor to see what regions is with three days in a row,” Verkuilen said. “I’m proud of the kids. They gave what they had.”

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