Homer’s Ava Halstead (front) celebrates a first-half goal against Kenai Central on Monday at Ed Hollier Field at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Homer’s Ava Halstead (front) celebrates a first-half goal against Kenai Central on Monday at Ed Hollier Field at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Homer girls, Kenai boys notch soccer wins

The Kenai Central boys and Homer girls soccer teams notched Peninsula Conference victories Tuesday on a windy and cold day at Ed Hollier Field in Kenai.

The Kenai boys carved out a 4-0 victory to move to 5-0 in the league and 7-5-2 overall. The Mariners are at 2-4 and 5-10-1.

The Homer girls won 2-0 to finish conference play at 6-0 and move to 9-4-2. The Kards drop to 2-2-1 and 6-5-2.

Homer girls 2, Kenai 0

The Mariners got a goal and an assist from Sela Weisser, a goal from Ava Halstead and a shutout from Felicia Weisser.

Homer ran the table in the conference without allowing a goal.

“This is definitely something that this group of kids can be super proud of,” Homer coach Mike Tozzo said. “I’m really happy with the way they’ve worked all year. It’s good to finish in this fashion.”

The Mariners had the wind at their back in the first half and quickly took advantage. In the third minute, Sela Weisser brought the ball up the left side and nailed a shot into the corner of the goal.

Just five minutes later, Weisser held off defenders in the box and played the ball back to Ava Halstead, who also hammered one in the corner.

“I just think we had a couple of good opportunities and something we haven’t really done in the past is take advantage of them right away,” Tozzo said. “I told them, ‘Just take a shot.’ A lot of the time we make an extra pass or miss on that extra pass.”

In the second half, the tables turned when the Kardinals got the wind, forcing Felicia Weisser to make some solid saves.

Kenai coach Dan Verkuilen said his team was able to create a lot of pressure, even heading the ball off the post on a corner kick.

“We had good pressure and I’m proud of that,” Verkuilen said. “Finishing is just one of those things we struggle with.”

The coach said the whole team played hard, but forward Kori Moore gave a particularly valiant effort.

Kenai boys 4, Homer 0

Wade James had two goals and assisted on another and Gavin Langham had the shutout in net for the Kardinals.

“I enjoyed watching them play,” Kenai coach Shane Lopez said of his team. “As a coach, sometimes it’s nerve-wracking. This one was a joy to watch because all of the things we’re working on — they were just coming together.”

The Kardinals pressured Mariners goalie Lucas Story from the outset. A little over three minutes into the game, the ball was bouncing around in the penalty area after a corner kick. Sam Baisden headed it down to Aloshia Cross, who scored.

Baisden assisted again in the 21st minute, getting the ball to James at the top of the penalty area.

Kenai then went up 3-0 before halftime when Ezekiel Yragui headed home a cross from James.

In the second half, James completed the scoring on a pass from Sawyer Vann.

“All the goals were nice,” Lopez said. “The way the guys were playing was nice. The ball movement throughout the night was just excellent.”

The coach said James had a great game not only scoring, but distributing the ball up front. He added Baisden, Cross and Joe Hamilton did a great job winning possession in the midfield and distributing the ball.

Homer coach Adam Diaz said the Kardinals won the possession battle and thus the game.

“Today was unfortunate,” Diaz said. “We really didn’t keep possession of the ball too well. Just connecting passes was a big struggle, and you really can’t score unless you connect passes.”

When the Kards got a steal, they took advantage.

“I think the counters is what was devastating today and that relentless counter environment that we gave Kenai led to them being successful,” Diaz said.

Diaz gave credit to Kaitden Bogie, at right back, and Jack Hrenchir, at right midfield, for solid games.

Homer’s Rocco Flora and Kenai Central’s Ky Calvert battle for the ball Tuesday, May 10, 2022, at Ed Hollier Field at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Homer’s Rocco Flora and Kenai Central’s Ky Calvert battle for the ball Tuesday, May 10, 2022, at Ed Hollier Field at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Homer’s Sela Weisser shields the ball from Kenai Central’s Cali Holmes and Kate Wisnewski before notching an assist Tuesday, May 10, 2022, at Ed Hollier Field at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Homer’s Sela Weisser shields the ball from Kenai Central’s Cali Holmes and Kate Wisnewski before notching an assist Tuesday, May 10, 2022, at Ed Hollier Field at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Homer goalie Lucas Story makes a save Tuesday, May 10, 2022, at Ed Hollier Field at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Homer goalie Lucas Story makes a save Tuesday, May 10, 2022, at Ed Hollier Field at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

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