The Kenai Central boys opened their 2017 soccer campaign with a 3-0 title rematch loss to South Anchorage on Friday afternoon at the Colony High School fields.
The Kards fell 3-1 to the Wolverines in last May’s state championship contest, and Friday presented the first opportunity the two sides have had against each other since then. For Kenai, it was the first game of the year outright.
Kenai head coach Joel Reemtsma said the contest allowed the Kardinals to flex their muscle after a long offseason and gain a better idea of what the team needs to work on.
“Considering the circumstances, we treated this game as a preseason fixture,” Reemtsma said. “Getting up at 4 a.m. and driving up on the bus, it was our first time on turf … the goal was to see how different guys react in different situations.”
Reemtsma said the team dressed 22 players for the occasion, which was marked by a couple of missed opportunities for Kenai. Karl Danielson had an early breakaway parried off into the corner, and Zack Tuttle nearly put in a header off the ensuing corner kick.
“South created more and better chances, and put some in,” he said.
Senior Tristan Landry got the start in goal for the Kards.
South girls 7, Kenai 0
The Kenai girls opened their season with a shutout loss Friday to the Wolverines. Kenai head coach Dan Verkuilen said the Kardinals were handed a challenge before the game even started with two key midfielders, senior Cassie Holmes and junior Olivia Brewer, out of action.
“It’s critical for us to learn and figure out where to place people,” Verkuilen said.
The veteran coach also noted that freshman Kailey Hamilton was stout in her first varsity appearance in goal.
Homer boys 7, Grace Christian 2
A four-goal day from Simon Dye fueled the Mariners in their first game of the season Saturday afternoon at Palmer’s Machetanz Field.
Homer led 3-0 at the halftime break, then added four more in the second half to seal the win over Grace. Dexter Lowe scored two goals and Oliver Beck added one.
Homer head coach Warren Waldorf missed the game due to a prior commitment made before the schedule was changed, but Mariners assistant coach Adam Diaz was pleased with the way the team executed.
“It took a little bit of time for us to get going, but once we got going, we stayed in a groove,” Diaz said. “We made a lot of good connections and overall the guys played pretty well for their first time on a turf field.”
Kenny Cortez had two saves in goal for Homer.
Grace Christian girls 2, Homer 0
The Mariner girls opened their season with a shutout loss to Grace Christian at Palmer, although the odds were stacked against Homer from the beginning. Homer suffered an injury to one of its starting players about 15 minutes in, according to head coach Mike Tozzo, and had to play with 10 players the remainder of the match.
Even while playing down a player, Homer held Grace back until a penalty kick with 10 minutes left in regulation, which the Grizzlies converted.
“I’m extremely pleased with the effort,” Tozzo said. “To keep fighting the way we did, it wasn’t like we were kept out of the attacking half of the field.
“We did everything we had to do except put the ball in the back of the net.”
The Grizzlies added an insurance goal in the final minutes of the match. Allie McCarron got the start in goal for Homer.