PALMER — After watching his team fall behind during the first 40 minutes, Soldotna head coach Jimmy Love didn’t hesitate to be brutally honest with his players during his halftime speech.
Apparently the message was received.
Soldotna scored a pair of unanswered goals to notch a tough 2-1 Northern Lights Conference girls’ soccer win over Colony on Saturday afternoon at Colony High School.
“We weren’t very nice at halftime,” Love said after the win. “We weren’t even remotely close to playing how we can play. We gave them an earful.”
Junior midfielder Abi Tuttle tallied both SoHi goals in the second half. She struck for the game-tying score within the first minute of the second half. Right off the opening whistle, Soldotna worked the ball up the field. Tuttle, in the left side of the box, challenged Colony goalkeeper Maddy Zmuda, who came forward to try to make a play.
Tuttle responded by tapping a shot into the right side of the net. Love said, whether the speech had anything to do with the early strike, he doesn’t know. But with her second goal, Tuttle must have taken Love’s halftime message to heart.
During the 47th minute, Tuttle booted a long, high shot, tucking it right underneath the crossbar in the left side corner of the net to give the Stars the 2-0 lead.
“Finally, we took some shots we should have been taking in the first half, that we’d been pulling away from,” Love said.
Colony head coach Lorie Miner said Soldotna didn’t take Colony by surprise with Tuttle’s first goal. Instead, Tuttle took advantage of a Colony breakdown.
“She’s talented and has got some ball skills,” Miner said of Tuttle. “She took advantage of us having a gap, and not putting pressure on her.”
Miner praised Zmuda’s play in the Colony net.
“Maddy did a great job in net. She’s very solid, works very hard,” Miner said. “She’s working hard to maintain a good record. The defense is working hard.”
Colony had a handful of late opportunities to tie the match, but Miner said she felt like her team didn’t exercise enough patience in the clutch.
“We started going into panic mode, instead of patient mode,” Miner said.
Colony took the lead in the first half with a hard strike courtesy of senior Peyton Johnstone during the 34th minute. Gabby Wakaliuk notched an assist on the play.
Soldotna boys 5, Colony 2
The visiting Soldotna boys soccer team notched a victory over Northern Lights Conference powerhouse Colony on Saturday.
“This was a very good program booster for us,” Soldotna coach Daryl Byerley said after improving to 7-3 overall. “We’re just going to try and build on this and move forward.”
Dylan Kuntz had three assists for the Stars, getting his first 10 minutes into the game when Eric Mayoral scored. Andrew Hammond made it 2-0 in the 30th minute with a direct kick before the Knights forced a 2-1 game at the half.
In the 53rd minute, Kuntz assisted when his corner kick found the head of Timmy Smithwick, then Mayoral scored again, this time assisted by Hammond.
In the 66th minute, the Stars took a 5-1 lead when Hammond scored on another assist from Kuntz. Colony would score with 10 minutes to play on SoHi goalie Blake Jones, who played the whole game.
“They remembered that soccer is a matter of making simple passes and moving off the ball,” Byerley said.
The coach added that all the players had great games, and that the outburst against Colony shows there are no excuses for games when SoHi scores just one or two.
He said Kuntz, Hammond, Johnny Smithwick and Eli Sheridan did a great job building up the attack from the midfield.
Kenai girls 3, Palmer 0
The Kards moved to 6-1-1 overall by shutting out the host Moose on Saturday.
“We got a lot of JV players up,” Kenai coach Dan Verkuilen said. “It was a good day to get some of them time.”
Brenna Eubank started the scoring with a penalty kick in the 39th minute. Lara Creighton then scored in the 45th minute, while Hannah Drury finished the scoring in the 73rd minute.
Verkuilen said his squad had 25 shots to Palmer’s two.
Alli Steinbeck had the shutout in net, and Verkuilen said his defenders were solid all weekend. The coach added Drury did a good job moving the ball around the midfield Saturday.
Kenai boys 2, Palmer 0
Damien Redder had a pair of second-half goals as the visiting Kards topped the Moose and improved to 6-2 overall.
Redder scored in the 55th and 68th minutes, both set up by Zack Tuttle.
“I’m really happy with out possession in the second half, and the number of chances created in both halves,” Kenai coach Joel Reemtsma said. “We don’t have our finishing touch just yet.
“It should have been 5 or 6-0, at least.”
Tristan Landry had the shutout in net. Reemtsma said Braydon Goodman had a great weekend at defense, holding down the fort while Max Dye sat to give an injury time to heal.
Nikiski girls 1, Houston 0
Hannah Love scored on a late free kick from 25 yards out as the visiting Bulldogs notched a Northern Lights Conference win Saturday.
“It was a tight game the whole match,” Nikiski girls coach Troy Zimmerman said after his team moved to 1-3. “They had more opportunities than we did, but we made that one count.”
The coach said Brianna Vollertsen did a great job in keeping a clean sheet in the goal.
“It was probably our best game of the season,” Zimmerman said. “We were talking and doing a lot of the right things. We were playing smart soccer.”
Zimmerman said Molly Cason and Rylee Jackson had nice games at forward, while Verity Feltman was solid in the midfield.
Nikiski boys 7, Houston 1
The visiting Bulldogs rolled over the Hawks in NLC play behind a hat trick from Sam Tauriainen.
Also for Nikiski, which moved to 1-3, Nathan Carstens had two goals, while Dylan Broussard and Hunter Holloway added tallies.
“We’re slowly getting better with the more field time we get,” Nikiski boys coach Jim Coburn said. “We had guys in different positions and looked at different things.
“We used it as a practice game to get ready for region games.”
On defense, Coburn said Javon Pamplin was steady at stopper, while Ryder Payment and Isaac Averill also defended well.
Homer girls 5, Kodiak 0
The visiting Mariners evened their Northern Lights Conference Southern Division record at 1-1 with the shutout.
“It was a big win for us,” Homer girls coach Mike Tozzo said. “It was good for us to come over to Kodiak and win both games, including the one that counted today.”
Andie Sonnen, assisted by Megan Pitzman, had the game’s lone goal in the first half.
In the second half, Sydney Lee scored in the 42nd minute, Raisa Basargin scored in the 50th minute assisted by Sam Draves, Uliana Reutov scored in the 53rd minute assisted by Lee, and Reutov scored in the 61st minute unassisted.
Alison McCarron had the shutout in net for the Mariners.
Tozzo said he moved Rachel Ellert from center forward or midfield to stopper and she did a great job at the position.
“We didn’t play our best at times, but we were moving people around and there is a learning curve for the new positions,” Tozzo said. “It was a good weekend for us.”
Kodiak boys 3, Homer 2
The host Bears dropped the Mariners to 2-4 overall and 0-2 in the Southern Division.
Simon Dye had both goals for the Mariners.
Colony boys 1, Kenai 0
A momentary lapse in defensive concentration cost the Kenai Central boys Friday night, who fell in a close Northern Lights Conference matchup at Colony High School.
After opening the contest with a quick shot on goal to prove their quality against one of the state’s top boys teams, Kenai allowed a goal in the 12th minute to Cameron Shaw, who scored on an assist from Alex Valdez.
The loss dropped the Kardinals to 5-2 overall.
Kenai coach Joel Reemtsma said the first half saw an epic struggle for possession, one that he thought Kenai held.
“We were pounding them for a while,” Reemtsma said.
Junior Tristan Landry finished the game without allowing a goal after the early strike. Kenai was also playing without crucial senior sweeper Max Dye, who was held out on precautionary reasons.
Reemtsma praised the midfield play of Ean Atchley and Draiden McMinn, who kept up the energy to stymie the Knights attack.
“In the second half, we were throwing more people forward,” Reemtsma said. “We just couldn’t quite put away chances in the first half.”
Kenai girls 0, Colony 0
The Kardinals battled a fierce wind and Knights team to preserve a tie in Northern Lights Conference action Friday night. Kenai slipped to 5-1-1 overall this season with the draw.
Kenai coach Dan Verkuilen said he believed Kenai held better possession and controlled the pace of the game, but ultimately could not
“We probably had the most chances, the most control, but they had some good offensive buildup at times,” Verkuilen said. “It’s one of those games you could see being a regional playoff game at some point.”
Senior goalkeeper Alli Steinbeck had the shutout for Kenai.
Verkuilen commended Cori Holmes and Hannah Drury for containing the midfield attack.
Soldotna boys 4, Palmer 0
The SoHi boys improved to 6-3 overall this season by blanking the Moose Friday evening in Palmer.
Timmy Smithwick, Eli Sheridan, Andrew Hammond and Ben Godfrey all scored for the Stars and senior Dylan Kuntz notched three assists. Blake Jones had the shutout in goal.
Smithwick struck first in the 18th minute, and was quickly followed by Hammond two minutes later. Sheridan poked one in with help from Kuntz in the 30th minute to give SoHi a 3-0 lead by halftime. Godfrey notched his goal in the 55th minute.
Soldotna girls 7, Palmer 0
Abi Tuttle scored four times Friday night in NLC play to lead the charge for the Stars, and Ella Stenga got the shutout in goal.
After a start to the game that SoHi coach Jimmy Love called flat, Soldotna was able to quickly notch goals.
“We finally got going by seven or eight minutes in, but when that whistle blows, you can’t wait eight minutes to get the game going,” Love cautioned. “When you’re up against a team like South, you’ll be down three or four goals if you wait around.”
Luckily, Palmer was not able to pounce on the early laziness by the Stars. Tuttle opened the scoring with an assist from Jaela Hubbard in the ninth minute, and Hubbard and Alaina Bramante added a goal each in the next two minutes to stake out a fast 3-0 lead.
Alyssa Wolfe assisted on another Tuttle goal in the 34th minute to notch a 4-0 lead at halftime. Tuttle completed her hat trick five minutes into the second half with help from Whitney Wortham, and posted her fourth scoring strike five minutes later. Reagan Schoessler, who ended the day with a pair of assists, finished off the scoring in the 67th minute with an assist from freshman Hannah Delker.
The win boosted Soldotna to 5-3 overall this season.
Wasilla girls 5, Seward 1
A late goal by Tia Miranda helped prevent a shutout by Wasilla’s JV team Friday night in Seward.
Wasilla led 3-0 at the half, but continued to build the lead with a pair of goals early in the second half.
“I thought we played pretty even with them,” said Seward girls coach James Wayne. “But the ball bounced their way sometimes.”
Seward dropped to 0-2 overall.
Nikiski girls 6, Joe Redington 1
Deidra Lamping led the Nikiski girls with four goals Friday night in a rout over second-year team Joe Redington Junior/Senior High School.
Verity Feltman added two goals, while Abby Bystedt preserved a shutout in goal for the first half for Nikiski. In the second half, Nikiski coach Troy Zimmerman replaced Bystedt with senior Avery Kornstad in goal. Kornstad typically plays in a defensive sweeper role.
Nikiski boys 5, Joe Redington 0
Gabriel Smith and Tyler Olsen each had two goals for the Bulldogs in a nonconference win on the road.
Silas Buss added a tally for Nikiski, while Baker Hensley and Warren Gage shared the shutout in net.
Homer girls 8, Kodiak 1
The Mariners cruised to a dominant Northern Lights Conference victory over the Bears Friday evening in Kodiak, improving to 3-2 overall this season.
Uliana Reutov recorded a hat trick to lead Homer’s charge, and Sam Draves played a scoreless first half in goal for the Mariners. Allison McCarron replaced Draves in goal for the second half, giving the senior some time out front. Draves made it count with a goal of her own.
Sydney Lee opened the scoring for Homer and Reutov added on for a 2-0 lead at halftime.
A Reutov goal early in the second half made it 3-0, and later completed her hat trick to make it 5-0. Raisa Basargin, Megan Pitzman, Draves and Rachel Ellert all added scoring strikes in the second half as well.
Kodiak boys 4, Homer 0
The host Bears notched a shutout victory over the Mariners on Friday in a game that did not count for the Northern Lights Conference Southern Division.