Kenai boys, Homer girls soccer pick up wins

Staff report

The visiting Kenai Central boys soccer team defeated Homer 4-0 on Thursday in Peninsula Conference play.

The Kardinals move to 1-0 in the league and 2-1 overall, while Homer falls to 1-1 and 1-1.

James Baisden got the Kardinals started in the first half when he drilled home a goal from 35 yards out.

In the second half, Koa Diorec scored twice, while Leif Lofquist also added a tally.

“The guys continue to improve,” Kenai coach Shane Lopez said. “They’re moving the ball better and building team chemistry. We’re only three games into the season.”

Lopez said Aloshia Cross and Sam Baisden did a great job building up the attack in the midfield.

Wade James had the shutout in net.

The Homer boys play Soldotna at noon Saturday in a game that has been moved to Kenai Central.

Homer girls 2, Kenai 1

The host Mariners came back from a 1-0 deficit at the end of the first half to claim a Peninsula Conference victory Thursday.

Homer moved to 2-0 in the league and 2-0 overall, while the Kardinals fell to 0-1 in the league and 1-2 overall.

Kenai grabbed the lead in the first half when Kylee Verkuilen converted a direct free kick from outside the penalty box.

“I thought we came out in the second half with a little more energy,” Homer coach Mike Tozzo said. “It seemed like we came out with a little more urgency to put a point on the board. Overall, I thought our passing was a little better in the second half.”

Laura Inama scored for Homer about three minutes into the second half, then Minadora Reutov had the game-winner in the 55th minute.

Tozzo said the game was back-and-forth and intense. He said Kenai put pressure on his defensive line. All four defenders held up well, with Tozzo throwing specific praise to Harmony Davidson and Debbie Weisser.

Kenai coach Dan Verkuilen was pleased with his team despite the loss. He said the team improved a lot since losing to Soldotna on Tuesday. The Kardinals were missing three starters Thursday, including the starting goalie. Verkuilen said Grace Beiser did a good job filling in at goalie.

“They’re a good team,” Verkuilen said of the Mariners. “We’re going to have good games throughout the season.”

The coach said Verkuilen, Taylor Pierce and Bethany Morris were solid in the midfield. Amber Nash, Katie Stockton, Valerie Villegas and Calani Holmes did well at defense.

Verkuilen said forwards Kori Moore and Julia Hansen developed some great chances. With more experience, Verkuilen said the finishes will come.

“This game gives them confidence that we’ll be in the mix if we keep building,” Verkuilen said.

The Homer girls play Soldotna at 2 p.m. in a game that has been moved to Kenai Central.

Palmer girls 6, Nikiski 0

The host Palmer girls notched a nonconference, shutout victory over the Bulldogs on Thursday behind four goals from Catherine Uschmann. The Bulldogs fall to 0-3.

Nikiski head girls coach Angie Coelho said Laken Graham showed improved skills on defense. The coach added Avery White, Rosalie Anderson and Lillian Carstens were solid in dribbling the ball up the field. Daisy Hicks and Emma Weeks split time in net for the Bulldogs.

Palmer boys 1, Nikiski 0

The host Moose received a goal from Jaxson Lee in recording the nonconference win Thursday.

Nikiski coach Harrison Deveer said his team played really hard. Nikiski had 13 for the game, and three were injured during the game, but the players toughed it out.

“The boys played great,” Deveer said.

The coach said James Lamping delivered another great game on defense. Deveer said Lamping is the most improved player since Deveer began coaching at Nikiski.

Also in the center of the field, Trevor Mysing was solid at defense and Sam Smith played a good midfield. Forward Gavin White continued to get more and more minutes in coming back from injury.

Houston has no boys team, so Nikiski resumes play Saturday at noon at Redington.

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