The Kenai Central girls soccer team earned an at-large berth to the Division II state soccer tournament, which will be in Anchorage on Thursday through Saturday.
The Alaska School Activities Association announced Sunday that Kenai will be going to state for a sixth straight season, and a seventh time out of eight overall.
The Kardinals finished third in the Peninsula Conference tournament in Homer over the weekend, missing the two automatic berths despite not allowing a goal in the tournament. In the semifinals, the Kards played Homer to a 0-0 tie through regulation and overtime before losing on penalty kicks.
The Peninsula Conference was so strong that not only did Kenai get in, but the Kards got in as a No. 4 seed. Soldotna, which won the conference, is the No. 2 seed, while Homer is No. 3.
The bad news is, as Kenai coach Dan Verkuilen suspected before the conference tournament, the conference’s at-large berth ended up in the same side of the bracket as No. 1 Juneau-Douglas, which has 13 seniors and is considered the favorite to win the tournament.
Soldotna plays No. 7 Palmer at 3 p.m. at Eagle River High School on Thursday, while Homer matches up with No. 6 Thunder Mountain at 1 p.m. Thursday at Eagle River. The Kardinals play No. 5 North Pole at 9 a.m. Thursday at Eagle River.
On the boys side of the tournament, the Peninsula Conference did not earn an at-large berth. The Nikiski boys took third at the conference tournament and hoped that would be enough for a first state berth in school history, but it was not.
Bulldogs coach Harrison Deveer said Sunday he had not gotten an explanation yet, but was expecting one Monday.
The conference will be represented by No. 2 seed Kenai Central and No. 3 seed Homer. The Mariners topped the Kardinals for the conference title Saturday.
Kenai plays No. 7 Grace on Thursday at 7 p.m. at West Anchorage. Homer plays No. 6 Ketchikan on Thursday at 5 p.m. at West Anchorage.