Kenai, SoHi, Homer girls; SoHi boys advance to DII state soccer semis

The Soldotna boys and SoHi, Kenai Central and Homer girls all advanced to the semifinals of the Division II state soccer tournament Thursday in the Matanuska-Susitna valleys.

The Soldotna boys (16-0-1), the top seed, defeated No. 8 Kodiak to move to a semifinal with No. 4 Palmer at 3 p.m. Friday at Wasilla.

The Moose defeated No. 5 Kenai (9-6-1) in the first round. Soldotna has a 3-1 win over Palmer to its credit this season.

The Kardinals will look to keep their season alive with an 11 a.m. Friday game against Kodiak. The Kards defeated the Bears 1-0 in the regular season.

On the other half of the bracket, No. 2 Juneau-Douglas: Yadaa.at Kale topped No. 7 Homer (7-7-1) 3-1, while No. 3 Ketchikan defeated No. 6 North Pole 2-1.

The Mariners play at 3 p.m. at Palmer against North Pole for a spot in the fourth-place game.

The No. 2 Kenai girls (15-2-1) defeated No. 7 Grace Christian 3-0 to set up a 1 p.m. semifinal at Colony against No. 3 Soldotna (13-2-2).

The Stars topped No. 6 Ketchikan 4-1. The Stars and Kardinals split a pair of games in the regular season, then Kenai defeated Soldotna 1-0 in overtime for the Peninsula Conference title Saturday.

On the other side of the bracket, No. 4 Homer (9-4-3) topped No. 5 Monroe Catholic 2-0. The Mariners will face No. 1 Juneau, which defeated No. 8 Palmer 5-0, in a 1 p.m. semifinal at Wasilla.

Soldotna boys 11, Kodiak 0

Soldotna head coach Erik Dolphin said the game was great because his starters played only 50 of the 80 minutes, going up 10-0 in that time.

“Our guys are just really locked in,” Dolphin said. “They took care of business.

“It’s a three-game season at this point and so far we are 1-0.”

Luke Hillyer and Bryan Berg combined on the shutout.

Dolphin said Kodiak had some nice players and he credited defenders Collin Peck, Zac Buckbee, Jace O’Reagan and Owen Buckbee with keeping the Bears off the board.

The coach said Simon Willets and Daniel Heath stood out in the midfield, while Nuno Venturi was dangerous up front.

Andrew Arthur had a hat trick, while Venturi had two goals and four assists. Willets had two goals, while Heath had two goals and two assists, and Johnny Wardas had a goal and two assists.

James Alden added a goal, while Zac Buckbee and Gehret Medcoff added assists.

Palmer boys 2, Kenai 1

Aloshia Cross put the Kardinals out front, but the Moose came back with two goals to win it.

Kenai coach Shane Lopez wrote in a text message that Cole Langham played excellent in the midfield, while Gavin Liles had a great game at defense.

Juneau boys 3, Homer 1

A goal by Reid Rauch had the Mariners all square at 1 heading into the final 15 minutes, but the Crimson Bears were able to tack on a few goals late.

Soldotna girls 4, Ketchikan 1

All of the scoring happened in the first 29 minutes of the game.

“Overall, I think the girls played a great first half and I would have liked to see us finish the game off,” Soldotna head coach Jimmy Love said. “We could have jumped out and gotten two goals and cemented it.”

Bay Boom got the Stars rolling in the 10th minute, while Sadie Lane, with help from Kaytlin McAnelly and Makaila Walgenbach, made it 2-0 just two minutes later.

Just two minutes later, the Kings made it 2-1 on a penalty kick, but Lane scored again in the 18th minute on Bay Bloom and Morgan Lemm helpers.

Jazzalynn McDonald finished off the frenzy in the 29th minute with a goal.

Love said the Kenai game will come down to finishing opportunities.

“I know we’re capable of doing that,” he said.

Kenai girls 3, Grace 0

Kenai coach Dan Verkuilen said he was happy he was able to get his starters some rest starting at the 55th minute.

“We moved everybody in, ran out time and got the kids some rest,” he said. “It’s about as good as you could expect for a first game.”

Just seven minutes in, Sarah Baisden scored from 20 yards out on a pass from Kylee Verkuilen.

In the 30th minute, a Grizzlies player caught a ball in the box. Baisden made a penalty kick to make it 2-0, and the red card meant Grace had to play with 10 for the rest of the game.

In the 55th minute, Verkuilen let the subs in when she bent in a corner kick.

Maddie Malone had the shutout for Kenai. Coach Verkuilen said Grace has some fast forwards, so he gave credit to defenders Seanna Swanson, Grace Beiser, Evelyn Cooper and Kate Wisnewski. He said Baisden and Kylee Verkuilen moved the ball around the midfield.

The coach said there’s not much to say about the Soldotna game.

“There’s not going to be any mystery,” he said. “They know Soldotna can win if they don’t play well, and they know they can win if they play well.”

Homer girls 2, Monroe Catholic 0

The Mariners scored twice in the second 10-minute overtime period to get past the Rams.

Homer head coach Mike Tozzo said his team played well, except for finishing opportunities.

“Just in that one aspect, we did not play well,” Tozzo said. “In my opinion, we should have won in regular time.

“We totally did not take advantage of easy shots on goal.”

Monroe almost made Homer pay in the overtime. Once, the Rams fired on goalie Christi Weisser and the ball slipped through her hands and off the post.

Also, Homer had to have two defenders clear the ball off the line in another sequence.

Talia Weisser finally broke through in the scoring column for Homer, then Minadora Reutov followed with help from Channing Lowney.

Tozzo said Addi Grimes and Goldie Hill were great in the middle of the defense.

“We may or may not get good shots against Juneau — they’re a good team — but if we do, we have to score,” Tozzo said.

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