Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion Nikiski's Rylee Jackson cuts back on Kodiak's Trisha Mamaat on Thursday in the first half of action at Nikiski High School.

Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion Nikiski's Rylee Jackson cuts back on Kodiak's Trisha Mamaat on Thursday in the first half of action at Nikiski High School.

Nikiski soccer notches split with Kodiak

A last-minute penalty kick block capped a stellar defensive showing by the Nikiski girls on their home turf Thursday evening against Kodiak.

Nikiski goalkeeper Brianna Vollertsen got both her mitts squarely on a penalty kick taken by Kodiak sophomore Abi Coombs in the final minute of stoppage time, which lasted two minutes, helping to preserve a 2-0 shutout victory for the Bulldogs. The PK was taken after a Nikiski defender was called for a handball in the box.

“All the credit goes to our backline,” said Nikiski girls coach Troy Zimmerman. “Kodiak played us tough, and they were better than the last time we played them.”

Daisy Schwenke, Avery Kornstad, Emma Wik and Melanie Sexton all anchored the persistent Nikiski defensive line, and Vollertsen stopped six shots on goal by Kodiak, five coming in the second half. The Bulldogs offense notched 12 total shots on goal.

The win was the third in a row for the surging Bulldogs, a streak that includes wins over Houston and Voznesenka in the past five days. Thursday’s win boosted Nikiski to 3-3 overall this year, and in the last three games, Nikiski has given up just one goal.

“I can’t remember the last time we had three in a row, so it feels good,” Zimmerman said.

Rylee Jackson and Kelcei Zoda scored for the Bulldogs to clinch the Northern Lights Conference victory.

The Bulldogs outshot the Bears 7-1 in the first half, but it was not until the 16th minute that Nikiski broke through the Kodiak defense. Jackson delivered a shot from the right side of the goalie box at a tough angle, but the ball managed to slip by Kodiak goalie Esme Lopez for a 1-0 home lead.

Kodiak began to press harder on offense in the second half, but each attack was contained nicely by the Nikiski back line.

Bulldogs midfielder Chloe Braun was charged with a yellow card in the 62nd minute for an aggressive play on field, but the cautionary ruling seemingly helped to spark Nikiski’s second goal of the day, as right winger Zykiah Cooney found Zoda in the box on a cross just a minute later for the goal and a 2-0 lead.

Shortly after the officials announced two minutes of stoppage time, Nikiski was called for the handball and Kodiak was given its chance to close up the lead with a goal, but Vollertsen denied the Bears that chance.

“There’s been a lot of positivity,” Zimmerman explained. “No one is pointing fingers when we have a letdown and the girls are just keeping up the enthusiasm.”

Zimmerman added that Saturday’s home game against Soldotna will really give the Bulldogs a chance to see where they stand. Nikiski lost 7-0 to Soldotna earlier this season.

Kodiak boys 3, Nikiski 1

An improved Kodiak Bears squad showed up to Nikiski’s field Thursday afternoon and left with a big NLC victory to move to 5-2 overall.

Junior forward Emerson Portillo scored a pair of goals to lead the Kodiak charge, and Jose Cortez added a goal as well.

“I’m proud of the way the boys played,” said Kodiak coach Eric Waltenbaugh. “We’ve improved a lot since last year.”

After winning just two games all of last year, the first year for the Kodiak soccer program, the Bears are showing continued signs that they are ready to contend at the NLC tournament in May. In addition to Thursday’s win over Nikiski, the Kodiak boys have two wins over Homer, a team that has been to state in three of the past four years.

“We’ve just been working hard and we’re showing that we deserve it,” Waltenbaugh said.

Meanwhile, the Nikiski boys dropped to 1-4 overall this year, and Bulldogs coach Jim Coburn chalked it up to not putting enough scoring chances on net.

“I’m not surprised Kodiak was tough, they’re a better team and they were well organized,” Coburn said. “We had our chances on goal, and we didn’t score.”

With scoring chances falling about even — Kodiak held a slim 11-10 advantage — any goal was bound to be the game winner. Kodiak opened the scoring in the 10th minute with a through ball to Portillo, who slotted it in past goalkeeper Warren Gage for a 1-0 Bears lead.

It wasn’t until the 47th minute in the second half that Nikiski managed to equalize. Dylan Broussard beat the Kodiak defense and got behind goalie Matt Schauff to deliver the goal and tie things up at one apiece.

“Nikiski played a strong physical game, and once they got that goal, they kept pressuring us,” Waltenbaugh said. “They like to play that long ball, and our defenders were caught flat footed.”

Gage proved to be on his game in net for Nikiski, as evidenced by a stellar save in the 57th minute, but Cortez finally beat him out on a shot that rattled around the box in the 64th minute, eventually going in to give Kodiak a 2-1 lead.

Portillo scored with two minutes left in regulation to seal the victory.

Nikiski will face Soldotna at home Saturday at 1 p.m.

Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion Nikiski's Zykiah Cooner and Kodiak's Miranda Alexander battle for the ball Tuesday at Nikiski High School.

Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion Nikiski’s Zykiah Cooner and Kodiak’s Miranda Alexander battle for the ball Tuesday at Nikiski High School.

Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion Kodiak's Daniel Beltran gets rid of the ball as Nikiski's Nathan Carstens closes in Tuesday at Nikiski High School.

Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion Kodiak’s Daniel Beltran gets rid of the ball as Nikiski’s Nathan Carstens closes in Tuesday at Nikiski High School.

Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion Nikiski's Dylan Broussard breaks in on goal in front of Kodiak's Walter Brewer on Tuesday at Nikiski High School.

Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion Nikiski’s Dylan Broussard breaks in on goal in front of Kodiak’s Walter Brewer on Tuesday at Nikiski High School.

More in Sports

Homer’s Sela Weisser attacks Kenai Central’s Kate Wisnewski and Valerie Villegas in the Peninsula Conference championship game Saturday, May 21, 2022, at Nikiski High School in Nikiski, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Area soccer teams ready for state

The Kenai Central boys and girls, Soldotna boys and girls, and Homer… Continue reading

Soldotna starting pitcher Atticus Gibson delivers to Kenai Central on Tuesday, April 26, 2022, at the Kenai Little League Fields in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
SoHi, Kenai, Homer chase state berths at Southcentral tourney

Three berths to the Division II state baseball tournament will be up… Continue reading

Anchorage Wolverines defenseman Ben Edwards shields the puck from Kenai River Brown Bears forward Bryce Monrean on Friday, Feb. 18, 2022, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Wolverines lose Robertson Cup final to New Jersey

The Anchorage Wolverines lost the Robertson Cup final to the New Jersey… Continue reading

Soldotna's Isaac Chavarria competes in the triple jump at the Region 3/Division I meet at Ed Hollier Field at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Saturday, May 21, 2022. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna girls win regions; SoHi boys, Kenai boys, girls finish 2nd

Stars boys left meet thinking they had won, but that changed with Sunday review of team scores

tease
Chugiak softball wins Bash on the Bay

The Chugiak softball team defeated Dimond 6-2 on Saturday to win the… Continue reading

tease
SoHi, Kenai, Homer baseball collect wins

The Soldotna baseball team defeated host Redington 12-8 on Saturday to move… Continue reading

The Kenai Central boys soccer teams mobs Joe Hamilton (center) after Hamilton scored the game-winning penalty kick in the Peninsula Conference championship game Saturday, May 21, 2022, at Nikiski High School in Nikiski, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai soccer sweeps Peninsula Conference titles

The Kenai Central girls and boys soccer teams swept the Peninsula Conference… Continue reading

Seward's Tommy Cronin competes in the triple jump at the Region 3/Division II meet Friday, May 20, 2022, at Ed Hollier Field at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Area track athletes punch early tickets to state

A few area athletes wrapped up automatic berths to the state track… Continue reading

tease
Kenai baseball rolls past Grace Christian

The visiting Kenai Central baseball team defeated Grace Christian on Friday 18-4… Continue reading

Most Read