Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion Kenai Central's Samantha Morse (left) shields the ball from Palmer's Tiana Lee in a Northern Lights Conference tournament quarterfinal, Thursday at Ed Hollier Field in Kenai.

Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion Kenai Central's Samantha Morse (left) shields the ball from Palmer's Tiana Lee in a Northern Lights Conference tournament quarterfinal, Thursday at Ed Hollier Field in Kenai.

Kenai, SoHi girls soccer squad advance on 1st day of region tourney

Entering the Northern Lights Conference soccer tournament as the top seed from the South division, the host Kenai Central girls were looking for an easy day Thursday.

The Kardinals got exactly that as they cruised to a 4-0 quarterfinal victory over Palmer at Ed Hollier Field in Kenai.

“It was nice getting a couple goals early on, which gave us the chance to rest some of our kids,” said Kenai coach Dan Verkuilen. “We didn’t have to run the full eighty minutes.”

After two first-half goals by Samantha Morse and Cori Holmes put Kenai ahead 2-0 at the halftime break, Kenai junior Lara Creighton iced the victory in the second half with a pair of elegant scoring strikes.

Creighton’s attacking style features a haul of brute force, and when several of her shots did not go in in the first half — including a close shave off the crossbar in the 12th minute — it was up to coach Verkuilen to guide her.

“He always stresses, ‘placement over power’,” Creighton said. “That’s what came with my second goal, I didn’t try to powerhouse it in.”

Six minutes into the second half, Jacey Ross set Creighton up with an assist from the left and Creighton made the turn to rid herself of her defender and slotted in the goal.

Creighton notched her second goal in the 54th minute on a slick through ball.

The Kardinals will face Colony today at 3 p.m. with a state tournament spot on the line. The two teams played to a scoreless draw the first time around in the regular season.

“The Valley (teams) didn’t do us good in the regular season,” Creighton said.

Earlier in the season, Kenai defeated Palmer 3-0 in a game Creighton felt did not demonstrate the full potential of the Kards.

“Our goal today was to keep possession more, and I think we did that today,” Creighton said.

Kenai outshot Palmer 11-1 in the first half, then continued the romp with a 10-2 advantage in shots in the second half.

The Kard opened the scoring 20 minutes in with a goal by Morse, who received a through ball up the middle and sent in the shot undefended for a 1-0 lead.

Holmes scored on a penalty kick in the 33rd minute. A Palmer defender was whistled for a hand ball in the box, and when Holme’s initial kick clanged off the right post, the senior was there for the second-chance attempt.

Kenai goalkeeper Alli Steinbeck had an uneventful day in goal to record the shutout.

Verkuilen anticipates a much tougher matchup with Colony today.

“They have some powerful forwards, which we do too,” he said. “Nothing will be given away.”

Soldotna girls 2, Grace 0

SoHi midfielder Abi Tuttle struck twice to lead the Stars to a quarterfinal win over the Grizzlies at Justin Maile Field in Soldotna.

“We managed to avoid an upset,” said Soldotna coach Jimmy Love. “I’m pretty meticulous and pretty hard on how they work, and we weren’t happy with how they performed today.”

The win advances SoHi to a semifinal date today with Wasilla at 11 a.m. The Stars beat the Warriors in a scrappy 2-1 win on May 7.

“We learned a lot from them, as far as what they like to do,” Love said about today’s game with Wasilla. “We have to be aware of spacing because those teams like to play that through ball and up over the top, and we’re not as fast as we’ve been in the past.”

On Thursday, Tuttle opened the scoring 22 minutes in with an assist from Whitney Wortham. Tuttle didn’t score again until the final minute of the game, when she collected the ball after a series of passes between Reagan Schoessler and Alyssa Wolfe and slotted home the insurance goal.

Soldotna goalkeeper Maddie Kindred was bothered with only a few saves in the shutout.

Wasilla girls 8, Nikiski 0

The Warriors advanced to today’s semifinal round with a dominant shutout win over the Bulldogs at Justin Maile Field in Soldotna.

Colony girls 6, Homer 0

The Knights scored all six of their goals against the Mariners in the first half Thursday in Kenai, punching their ticket to today’s semifinal round against Kenai Central.

Homer coach Mike Tozzo said after suffering a similar loss to Colony earlier in the season, he made a few adjustments in hopes of countering Colony’s attack, and the changes worked with a scoreless second half, but the damage was done in the opening 40 minutes.

“I think if you look at the beginning of the season to the end, I can say with confidence we got better every day,” Tozzo said.

Homer finished 10-6 overall in 2016, something the first-year coach was proud of.

“Overall it was a success,” he said. “We were already talking about next year, about who’s going to go where.”

Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion Kenai Central junior Lara Creighton (right) dribbles the ball against Palmer's Elliese Wright in a Northern Lights Conference tournament quarterfinal Thursday afternoon at Ed Hollier Field in Kenai.

Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion Kenai Central junior Lara Creighton (right) dribbles the ball against Palmer’s Elliese Wright in a Northern Lights Conference tournament quarterfinal Thursday afternoon at Ed Hollier Field in Kenai.

More in Sports

tease
Kenai, Nikiski squads take road losses

The Kenai Central girls and boys basketball teams were swept at Chugiak… Continue reading

Houston’s Daniel Matveev celebrates a goal against Soldotna on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
SoHi, Homer hockey take losses

The Houston hockey team notched a 6-1 victory over Soldotna on Thursday… Continue reading

tease
Bears return home for 3-game set

The Christmas break threw the Kenai River Brown Bears out of their… Continue reading

Michael Armstrong, seated, in sled, gives his mother, Sylvia Jander, the unique Alaska experience of driving a sled-dog team in February 1989 in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Jenny Stroyeck)
Fill out the squares of the Alaska Adventure Bingo Card

Moose, bears, sled dogs wolves, whales oh my: Alaska offers many adventures to check off.

Dog sick fungus, named for its resemblance to canine vomit, is neither vomit nor a fungus. It is a kind of slime mold common in tundra. (Photo by Matt Bowser/USFWS)
Refuge Notebook: Names of living things have much to say

As we at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge seek to know about… Continue reading

tease
SoHi JV girls topple Ninilchik

The host Soldotna JV girls basketball team notched a 39-27 victory over… Continue reading

tease
SoHi JV cagers sweep CIA

The host Soldotna JV basketball teams scored nonconference wins over Cook Inlet… Continue reading

Karl Danielson, a 2018 graduate of Kenai Central, races to victory in the Under-18 and over men's 10-kilometer interval start classic at Besh Cup 4 on Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022, at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna, Alaska. The Besh Cup races are mostly used to select skiers for Junior Nationals, but also give younger and older skiers a chance for top-notch racing. It took over 50 volunteers to put together the two days of races, which had over 200 skiers each day.
Kenai grad Danielson sweeps Besh Cup weekend at Tsalteshi

Tsalteshi Trails hosted the Besh Cup on Saturday and Sunday.

tease
Ice Dogs sweep Brown Bears

The Fairbanks Ice Dogs got off to a solid start under new… Continue reading

Most Read