The visiting Homer soccer team stayed undefeated by topping Kenai Central 1-0 in Peninsula Conference play Thursday.
“Our goal was to come here and keep ourselves in contention for the No. 1 seed,” Homer girls coach Mike Tozzo said. “Two wins over Kenai sets us up to do that.”
The Mariners are now 3-0-1 in the league and 4-0-1 overall, while the Kardinals fall to 0-3 and 1-6-1. Saturday, Homer hosts Soldotna, also undefeated in the league, at 2 p.m. in a game that will go a long way in determining the top seed.
Despite the loss, Kenai girls coach Dan Verkuilen continues to be happy with his young team’s progression.
“I think we’re just improving,” Verkuilen said. “It sounds corny, but that game against them and against Soldotna was a lot better than the first game.”
The defenses both had a strong game limiting chances.
Tozzo said goalie Felicia Weisser was called upon to make four saves. He gave credit to defensive midfielders Jessica Sonnen and Paige Jones for keeping chances down.
Verkuilen said he has three starting defenders out right now, but said Calani Holmes, Valerie Villegas, Julia Hansen and Grace Beiser are all getting the job done on defense.
The only goal of the game came 25 minutes in on a free kick. Debbie Weisser put the shot on net and Kappa Reutov converted the rebound.
Homer has just won one of its games this season by more than a goal, but it is the wins that count.
“Scoring is not necessarily our thing,” Tozzo said. “The girls continue to play well and disciplined.”
Kenai also has struggled to get balls in the back of the net, but Verkuilen thinks that is coming as midfielders Kylee Verkuilen and Bethany Morris create better and better combinations with the forwards.
Homer boys soccer 0, Kenai 0
Homer’s Lucas Story and Kenai’s Aidan Milburn kept clean sheets Thursday at Kenai in Peninsula Conference action.
“That’s just the game,” Kenai coach Shane Lopez said. “Sometimes the ball doesn’t go in the back of the net.”
Lopez said Homer played well and had a few players back since the Kards won 4-0 on April 22.
“We looked good and kept it tight in the back,” Lopez said. “We had our chances but didn’t hit the back of the net.”
Lopez said Joe Hamilton kept the defense organized and captain James Baisden started many good chances from the midfield.
“He’s a leader for us on the field and off of it,” Lopez said.
Homer coach Adam Diaz said he emphasizes volume of communication and attitude with his team.
“I would say we went into the game with a spartan mentality,” Diaz said. “We’ve been instilling fighting to the end, and that’s what really got the boys going today.”
Juneau girls soccer 4, Soldotna 0
The visiting Crimson Bears prevailed in a nonconference battle of Division II powerhouses Thursday to drop the Stars to drop to 6-2-1 overall.
“I’m not happy to lose, though I thought the girls played one of the better games they’ve played all season,” Soldotna girls coach Jimmy Love said. “The score doesn’t always represent that.”
The game was scoreless for the first 36 minutes, then Juneau tucked away a few goals Love thought were soft before the end of the half.
“I do think we have the ability to tighten that game up,” Love said. “We need to put more pressure on their defense and keeper. We didn’t have a lot of offensive power, but we definitely moved the ball.”
Love said neither team scored for most of the second half, then Juneau put the game away with two nice shots.
“I thought the girls played the style of game we want to play in every game we play,” Love said. “They played physical, hard, and passing to space or feet when necessary. They were doing everything at a much faster pace and that’s what we expect every game we play.”
Love said the defense faced its toughest test this season. He said the unit responded with its best game of the season.
Homer baseball 18, Houston 17
The host Mariners held on Thursday to notch their first victory of the season, moving to 1-3 in the Southcentral Conference and 1-6 overall.
“It was good to finally get a win,” Homer coach Rich Sonnen said. “We gave them lots of chances to win, but we pulled it out.”
Sonnen said just about everybody got hits for his squad. Harrison Metz was 3 for 6 with four RBIs and a triple, Austin Ceccarelli was 3 for 5 with two RBIs, and Gabe Dash was 2 for 4 with two RBIs.
“Our pitching was not too bad but our defense is not doing so hot,” Sonnen said.
Dash went 5 2-3 innings, giving up five runs — three earned — on nine hits while striking out two.
Ceccarelli gave up four runs in an inning, but just one was earned.