Kenai, SoHi girls soccer; SoHi boys move to Division II semifinals

The Kenai Central and Soldotna girls and Soldotna boys advanced to the semifinals of the Division II state soccer tournament Thursday in Anchorage.

In the girls semifinals today, top seed Kenai Central faces No. 4 Juneau-Douglas Yadaa.at Kale at 1 p.m. at West, and No. 2 Soldotna faces No. 3 North Pole at 1 p.m. at Service.

In the girls fourth-place side of the bracket, No. 5 Homer plays No. 8 Nikiski at 9 a.m. at South and No. 6 Grace Christian plays No. 7 Houston at 1 p.m. at South.

In the boys semifinals today, No. 1 Juneau faces No. 4 Ketchikan at 3 p.m. at West and No. 3 Soldotna faces No. 2 Palmer at 3 p.m. at Service.

In the boys fourth-place side of the bracket, No. 5 Kenai faces No. 8 Homer at 11 a.m. at South and No. 6 Grace faces No. 7 North Pole at 3 p.m. at South.

The girls scores were Kenai 10, Nikiski 0; Juneau 4, Homer 0; North Pole 4, Grace 2; and Soldotna 3, Houston 1.

The boys scores were Juneau 4, Homer 0; Ketchikan 1, Kenai 0 in overtime; Soldotna 2, Grace 0; and Palmer 3, North Pole 2 in overtime.

Kenai girls 10, Nikiski 0

Maddie Malone delivered a shutout as the Kardinals stormed into the semifinals.

The Kardinals are 17-0-0 after beating Nikiski for the fourth time this season. The Bulldogs fall to 3-10-1 after making the program’s first appearance at the state tournament.

Kenai took a 3-0 lead at the half. At seven minutes, Kori Moore scored on a Chloe Goldsby assist. One minute later, Kate Wisnewski scored on passes from Sarah Baisden and Rylie Sparks. Baisden closed the half by scoring on a Danica Swafford assist.

Brynnen Hanson scored on a cross from Goldsby, who got a pass from Sparks, two minutes into the half.

In the 45th minute, Kylee Verkuilen scored on a pass from Wisnewski, and six minutes after that Goldsby scored on a Wisnewski assist.

The final goals came from Goldsby unassisted, Katie Johnson unassisted, Swafford unassisted and Johnson on a scrum in front of the net.

Verkuilen got player of the game for the Kardinals, while Savanna Stock was player of the game for the Bulldogs.

“It was hard to face the best in the D2 league, especially without subs, and playing a man down in the first half for a few minutes due to a bloody nose,” Nikiski coach Angie Coelho wrote in a press release. “We’re looking for a win tomorrow.

“No matter what, we’re just happy to be here.”

Juneau-Douglas girls 4, Homer 0

The Mariners fell to 6-11-1 after the loss to the Crimson Bears, who have won all four state titles since Division II was created in 2018.

Addi Grimes was player of the game for Homer.

Homer coach Mike Tozzo said in a text message that his team did not play well.

“We needed to play well and just didn’t quite do it,” he wrote.

Tozzo wrote the good thing is that the Mariners found they could be competitive against a program like Juneau.

Soldotna girls 3, Houston 1

The Stars moved to 11-5-0 by topping Houston for the third time this season.

Zayra Poage opened the scoring for Soldotna 13 minutes into the game on an assist from Alex Lee, but it took the Hawks just a few minutes to equalize by getting the ball past SoHi keeper Sunny Miller.

Just before the end of the first half, Morgan Lemm, assisted by Lee, put the Stars up for good.

In the second half, Lemm closed the door when she scored with about six minutes left on assists from Jazzalynn McDonald and Sadie Lane.

“I’m happy, of course, that we got the win,” SoHi coach Jimmy Love said. “I’m not happy with how we got there.”

Love said his team is still not playing the full 80 minutes consistently.

“The further we go into the tournament, some teams are hard to come back on or hold back,” Love said. “We’ve got to play the full 80 minutes and we did not do that today.”

Love said if his team plays the full 80, the Stars can beat anyone in the tournament.

Defender Kendra Rose was the player of the game. Love said Rose combined with Lee to lead a solid defensive effort.

Ketchikan boys 1, Kenai 0, OT

The teams were scoreless through regulation and two 10-minute overtime periods.

The game then goes to two five-minute periods where the game ends on a goal. Ketchikan scored at the end of the first five-minute period to end the game.

“Certainly a tough one to lose and a tough way to lose but I couldn’t be more proud of these guys and the heart that they displayed for 105 minutes of a great game against a very good opponent,” Kenai coach Shane Lopez wrote in a text message after his squad fell to 10-5-3.

Kenai goalie Zeke Yragui was player of the game for the Kards. Lopez wrote Yragui had several great saves and led the squad defensively.

“Guys played tough and played well, we created chances but just ultimately didn’t find the winner,” Lopez wrote. “Their keeper had a few good saves as well to keep us out.”

Lopez wrote that Carson Grimm and Daniel Shelden also led a defense that limited Ketchikan to a few shots during the game.

The coach also wrote that Aloshia Cross played a big role in the midfield, building attacks that turned into great chances.

Soldotna boys 2, Grace Christian 0

The Stars got a clutch effort in the goal from Gehret Medcoff in moving to 10-3-3 overall. The two teams had tied earlier in the season.

Soldotna’s Luke Hillyer had played in goal all season, but Hillyer was not available Thursday due to getting a red card in the Peninsula Conference championship game.

Medcoff, last year’s goalie who had moved to forward this season, stepped in with the shutout and was awarded the player of the game.

“He played pretty amazing for having not been in the goal all year,” SoHi coach Erik Dolphin wrote in a text message.

Lane Hillyer and Simon Willets had the goals for SoHi.

“We were a little sluggish in the first half, but really turned it on in the second,” Dolphin wrote. “We had the bulk of possession and created a ton of chances.”

Dolphin added that Zac Buckbee and Daniel Heath were pivotal in controlling the midfield.

“Overall, solid performance,” Dolphin wrote. “We are happy to be moving on.”

The Stars lost to Palmer 2-1 on April 28.

Juneau-Douglas boys 4, Homer 0

The Mariners fell to 5-9-3 after the loss to the defending state champions.

Homer coach Adam Diaz wrote in a text message that the Crimson Bears came into the game ready to deal quick damage. After Homer got scored on, Diaz wrote the Mariners settled into the game.

“Players fought tough all game,” Diaz wrote. “That’s all you can ask for.”

Jake Tappan was the player of the game for Homer.

“Young man was cooking today,” Diaz wrote.

The coach wrote that his team is looking forward to taking on Kenai. The two teams tied once, with Kenai also picking up three wins.

“Every player is ready to have Kenai go two and out,” Diaz wrote.

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