Kenai Central’s Lexy Carrasco at Ketchikan’s Cameron Edwards battle for the ball Wednesday, April 26, 2017, at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Lexy Carrasco at Ketchikan’s Cameron Edwards battle for the ball Wednesday, April 26, 2017, at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central soccer sweeps Ketchikan

The future of Kenai Central soccer crossed with the present of Kardinals soccer Wednesday. Both are looking bright.

On a day when the host Kardinals were missing some of their top players on the girls and boys sides, the programs were able to pull off a nonconference sweep of Ketchikan. The Kenai girls won 4-0, while the boys notched a 1-0 victory.

The Kardinals girls moved to 6-2 overall, while the boys stand at 6-1. Both are headed to Kodiak for Friday and Saturday matches.

The Ketchikan girls fall to 0-5, while the boys stand at 3-2-1. The Kings continue their tour of the Kenai Peninsula with matches at Seward today, Homer on Friday and Soldotna on Saturday.

The Kenai girls did not have forward Lara Creighton and defender Brenna Eubank, but that did not stop the Kards from jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the first half.

Olivia Brewer, returning after a few games off due to injury, made an immediate impact with a pair of goals in the first half. In the 11th minute, she scored on an assist from Liz Hanson. In the 32nd minute, she tracked down a ball behind the Ketchikan defense for another score.

“She gives us good speed and power up front,” Kenai coach Dan Verkuilen said.

Also in the first half for the Kards, Paulyne Catacutan made a strong run into the box and created a rebound opportunity that Faith Ivy converted. In the final minute of the first half, Hanson made it 4-0 when she scored a corner kick from Mikaela Pitsch.

“In the first half, they all went out and played hard and moved the ball around a little bit,” Verkuilen said. “I was disappointed in the second half. I put in some younger players and the intensity went down. I don’t want to be a one-half team.”

The flip side of that is Ketchikan coach Neil Kinunen said his side came to life in the second half. Although the Kings flew into Anchorage on Tuesday night and then took a bus to Soldotna on Wednesday afternoon, Kinunen resisted the temptation to blame the travel because his team has been starting slow all season.

“We were definitely a step or two behind in the midfield for the first half,” Kinunen said. “I got angry at halftime. They came out more intense and were able to get on the attack.”

Kenai goalie Kailey Hamilton was able to keep a clean sheet with five saves, though.

“Her hands are getting softer,” Verkuilen said of the freshman. “That’s one thing we’ve been working on — limiting rebounds.”

The coach said Savannah Clark did a good job filling in for Eubank, while freshman Alissa Maw remains solid at sweeper. Mikaela Pitsch and Rebecca Miller also were stingy on the outside of the defense.

Kinunen also was happy with central defenders Neva Garner and Cameron Edwards. He said both kept the Kings in the game in the first half.

“This is a great trip,” said Kinunen, whose squad has just played Juneau and Thunder Mountain two times apiece this season. “We get to see different competition and different skill levels.”

Kenai boys 1, Ketchikan 0

The Kardinals were missing a lot of firepower up front and in the midfield, most notably Zack Tuttle and Kevin Ramos. But Kenai’s vaunted back line was intact, and that spelled trouble for the Kings.

Ketchikan was able to win its share of midfield battles, but Kenai keeper Tristan Landry didn’t have to work hard for his shutout thanks to the solid center of Max Dye and Braydon Goodman and outside defenders Luke Beiser and Karl Danielson.

“We had difficulty linking up with our forwards today,” Ketchikan coach David Mitchel said. “Part of that has to be a credit to their defense.”

But what makes Kenai’s defense so unique is how much it gets involved in the offense. In the 27th minute, Beiser ripped in the game’s lone goal from the top of the box. It’s the third straight game in which Beiser had the first goal of the game.

“We have a solid back line,” Kenai coach Joel Reemtsma said. “They don’t make too many mistakes. They play physical but fair, and they give us so many different ways of attacking.”

That starts with Dye and Goodman in the middle, who can start the attack by playing the ball short and wide or placing long balls just past the opposition’s defenders. Reemtsma also said Goodman did a good job playing on the yellow card he earned in the first half.

After the game, both coaches raved about how good the game was for developing their teams.

“That was exactly what we came here for,” Mitchel said. “It was pretty evenly matched. I think we outplayed them for the first 20 minutes, but after that they got the better of us for the most part.”

Mitchel said one of the highlights was seeing how defensive wing Vince Tenebro looked after missing some time this season.

Reemtsma started a pair of freshmen at forward in Travis Verkuilen and Nate Beiser. The coach said the pair did not disappoint. He also said the game was a great learning experience for Damien Redder and Tomas Levy-Canedo as they learn the fast, physical play required to function at center midfield.

“Ketchikan is a great side,” Reemtsma said. “I told (my team) to keep the pressure on or they would pass through us and score.”

Ketchikan’s Grant Collins and Kenai Central’s Karl Danielson joust for the ball Wednesday, April 26, 2017, at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Ketchikan’s Grant Collins and Kenai Central’s Karl Danielson joust for the ball Wednesday, April 26, 2017, at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Ketchikan’s Grant Collins and Kenai Central’s Karl Danielson joust for the ball Wednesday at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Ketchikan’s Grant Collins and Kenai Central’s Karl Danielson joust for the ball Wednesday at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Lexy Carrasco at Ketchikan’s Cameron Edwards battle for the ball Wednesday at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Lexy Carrasco at Ketchikan’s Cameron Edwards battle for the ball Wednesday at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Samantha Morse and Ketchikan’s Neva Garner race for the ball Wednesday, April 26, 2017, at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Samantha Morse and Ketchikan’s Neva Garner race for the ball Wednesday, April 26, 2017, at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Liz Hanson tries to get a shot off between Ketchikan’s Angel Spurgeon and Aleks Bolshakoff on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Liz Hanson tries to get a shot off between Ketchikan’s Angel Spurgeon and Aleks Bolshakoff on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Titus Riddall is fouled by Ketchikan’s Mark Jasper on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Titus Riddall is fouled by Ketchikan’s Mark Jasper on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Tomas Levy-Canedo and Ketchikan’s Mark Jasper battle for the ball Wednesday, April 26, 2017, at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Tomas Levy-Canedo and Ketchikan’s Mark Jasper battle for the ball Wednesday, April 26, 2017, at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Ketchikan’s Colin Whitesides and Kenai Central’s Avery Hieber attempt to head the ball Wednesday, April 26, 2017, at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Ketchikan’s Colin Whitesides and Kenai Central’s Avery Hieber attempt to head the ball Wednesday, April 26, 2017, at Kenai Central High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

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