The visiting Soldotna girls soccer team opened its season with a 5-1 victory Friday over defending Northern Lights Conference champion Colony.
The Stars have won three of the last four conference championships, with the one blemish coming to the Knights in the conference title game last season.
SoHi did come back to defeat the Knights 3-2 for third place at state.
“Whether it’s against Colony or anything, to start the season off with a win against a northern opponent is nice,” Soldotna coach Jimmy Love said. “I suppose there’s a little bit of the revenge factor, but we got revenge on them at state.
“This starts the whole cycle over again.”
Kylee Wolfe started the season with three goals and an assist. Just 13 minutes into the season, Wolfe had two goals, one assisted by Taryn McCubbins and the other by Alyssa Wolfe.
After Colony cut the gap to 2-1, Julie Litchfield struck on an assist from Kelci Benson in the 28th minute.
Just two minutes later, Wolfe finished her hat trick with an unassisted goal. She then assisted on an Olivia Conradi goal in the 34th minute.
Love said he did a lot of subbing in the second half to give his reserves experience and give his starters rest. He said his squad still got a lot of chances, but couldn’t finish them.
“For the first game, I think the girls played really well,” Love said. “They possessed and passed and played the game we think they are very capable of playing.”
Kenai girls 4, Palmer 0
The visiting Kardinals heated up on offense in the second half to notch an NLC win in their first game of the season.
Kenai had 11 shots on goal in the first half.
“You could see the first-game jitters,” Kenai coach Dan Verkuilen said. “We had good opportunities and good ball movement and some point-blank chances.”
Cori Holmes got the Kards going with goals in the 54th and 58th minutes, on through balls from Heidi Perkins and Allie Ostrander.
“She got us started,” Verkuilen said of Holmes. “We were kind of feeling like there was a wall across the goal in the first half.”
In the 59th minute, Heidi Perkins struck from 30 yards out, while a quick left foot earned Abi Tuttle an unassisted goal in the 65th minute.
Alli Steinbeck had the shutout for Kenai. Verkuilen said Perkins was solid on defense, and also started the offense. Ostrander and Hannah Drury distributed in the midfield, while Holmes and Lara Creighton saw the most time up front.
“I’m really pleased with how it came out,” Verkuilen said. “They showed good fight.”
Kenai boys 1, Palmer 0
A penalty kick by TJ Wagoner was enough to lift the visiting Kardinals over the Moose on Friday in NLC action.
Late in the first half, Wagoner was taken down in the box and converted the resulting penalty kick to give the Kards’ a win in their first game.
That was good enough for goalie Wren Norwood and the Kenai defense. Kenai coach John Morton said defender Nate Narlock was solid and had one particular 40-yard sprint back to thwart a scoring opportunity.
Morton said Kenai had more opportunities on goal, but there were definitely times when Palmer but together some nice attacks, as well.
“When we were playing well, we were playing as a team with quick passes, playing to space and moving off the ball,” Morton said. “We didn’t stay consistent. That’s what we have to work on.”
Nikiski boys 9, Seward 0
The visiting Bulldogs notched a big victory Friday in their first NLC Southern Division game of the year.
Nikiski is now 2-0 overall and in the NLC. Seward falls to 0-1, but the good news for the Seahawks is they have played a rare home game in April. In fact, Nikiski coach Jim Coburn said he was informed Seward has had use of the field for two weeks.
Nico Castro led the Bulldogs with three goals, while Dylan Jackson added a pair of strikes. Also scoring for Nikiski were Jesse Eide, Nathan Carstens, Hunter Holloway and Michael Stangel.
Sullivan Jackson had the shutout for Nikiski.
“Our defense played well,” Coburn said. “We were able to get a lot of young guys in the game. For the second game of the year, it was good.”
Wasilla girls 2, Homer 1
The visiting Warriors scored the game-winner midway through the second half to top the Mariners in Northern Lights Conference action Friday.
Wasilla improved to 5-1 overall and 4-0 in the NLC with the win, while Homer was playing its first game of the season.
“I would say we played fairly well for our first game,” Homer coach Mickey Todd said. “We could have done a few things we’ve been working on in practice better, but game pace is a lot different from practice pace.”
Todd said his seniors made a big difference in the game. Senior Maggie Koplin scored 49 seconds into the second half for a 1-1 game.
Todd also said it is nice having senior Rachel Doan back in net. Doan started as a freshman and sophomore before missing last year with an injury.
“She makes a huge difference for us,” Todd said.
The coach also credited senior offensive midfielder Mady Gerard and senior fullback Hannah Baird with solid games.
Homer boys 3, Wasilla 1
The host Mariners received two goals from Kenneth Schneider in opening their season with a Northern Lights Conference victory over the Warriors on Friday.
Wasilla dropped to 4-4 overall and 3-2 in the league.
Schneider started the scoring in the 43rd minute on an assist from Quinn Daugharty. Just four minutes later, Max Mangue found the back of the net, again with help from Daugharty.
Schneider then made it 3-0 on an assist from Jake Worsfold.
Wasilla had its goal with three minutes to play.