The visiting Soldotna boys soccer team avenged a 2-0 loss to Wasilla a week earlier by topping the Warriors 2-0 on Saturday.
What was the difference?
“Passing, control of the midfield, and understanding what Wasilla was trying to do,” Soldotna boys coach Darryl Byerley said after his team moved to 6-1. “We did what we had to do to countermand when somebody is trying to play through balls.”
The Stars got both of their goals in the first half. Ryan Winter struck in the 17th minute on an assist from Dylan Ackerman.
Then Charalambos Asimakopoulos finished right before the end of the first half, with help from Ethan Bott.
Byerley said the defense played extremely well, with a particularly good game from sophomore Addison Downing.
The coach said the Stars had the better of the possession.
“We had many more scoring opportunities than the score illustrates,” Byerley said. “We’ve got to finish. We’re getting there. We’re a young team that’s learning.”
Soldotna girls 4, Wasilla 0
The visiting Stars moved to 5-0 by beating Wasilla, just as they had one week earlier.
If the Warriors weren’t worn out from a heavy schedule this week, Miranda Wolfe wore them out by scoring all four goals.
“Looking at their schedule, it was their fifth game this week,” SoHi coach Jimmy Love said. “They were tired and probably saving some kids from overuse.
“That’s not taking anything away from us.”
Wolfe scored in the 11th minute with help from Reagan Schoessler and Alyssa Wolfe, then in the 17th minute on an assist from Skylar Shaw.
“We didn’t start the game strong,” Love said. “We came out flat, not playing our game and passing into space.
“Once we had halftime and sat down and had a talk, they settled down and played much better in the second half.”
In the 54th minute, Wolfe found the net on assists from Shaw and Schoessler. Finally, in the 65th minute, Bailey Rosin and Elena Bramante helped Wolfe pound home her fourth goal of the match.
Love said the defense and goalie Maddie Kindred did a good job of thwarting Wasilla’s through balls. Because the Warriors couldn’t set up and attack, Love only had Wasilla with two shots on goal.
Nikiski girls 3, Houston 0
The Bulldogs avenged a loss to the host Hawks to start the season.
With the NLC win, Nikiski bumped its record to 2-6.
“I think it really sends the message to my girls that they have indeed been improving even though sometimes the record doesn’t tilt in their favor,” Nikiski coach Troy Zimmerman said. “To lose to Houston 1-0 in the last two minutes of the game was a tough loss to take, but they went out today and played good soccer.”
Zimmerman said the Bulldogs did some of the things that are being worked on at practice — moving the ball, attacking effectively and playing solid defense.
Nikiski had all of its goals in the first half. Rachel Thompson found the back of the net twice, once on an assist from Zykiah Cooney. Zimmerman said one of the goals was a beautiful blast from 25 to 30 yards out that found the upper corner of the far post.
Thompson also assisted on a Melanie Sexton goal in the first half.
Goalie Brianna Vollertson and a defense led by Hannah Love and Hallie Riddall kept the Hawks off the board in the first half, then the defense continued to play well when Thompson went back in the net in the second half.
“It was good to get that win under our belt after a long three-day weekend,” Zimmerman said. “We ended on a positive note, and hopefully we can carry that into the upcoming weekend matches.”
Nikiski boys 6, Houston 1
The visiting Bulldogs moved to 3-5 with the NLC victory against the Hawks on Saturday.
Kenai boys 4, Grace Christian 0
Zack Tuttle had a hat trick as the Kardinals notched an NLC win in Anchorage on Saturday.
Kenai coach Joel Reemtsma, whose team moved to 3-2-1, said the four-goal game was huge for his club.
“My fear coming in was not that we would lose or tie, my fear was that we wouldn’t find the net,” Reemtsma said. “I told them I’d rather lose 3-4 than tie 0-0.
“Heading into regions, we’ve got to start finding the net. We’re a strong defensive team, but we’ve got to punch it in, so today felt good.”
The first half ended scoreless.
In the 45th minute, Austin McKee hit Tuttle on an early cross for a goal.
Just 10 minutes later, Tuttle emerged from a scrum in front of the net and drilled in a shot from 18 yards out.
In the 65th minute, freshman speedster Kevin Ramos beat three players on a run up the sideline. He took a touch along the end line and slotted the ball back to Tuttle for the hat trick.
“He’s a freshman with blazing speed,” Reemtsma said of Ramos. “Up until this season, we weren’t sure what else he had to his game, but he’s become a player that’s willing to possess the ball, make runs and be unselfish. That paid off today.”
Max Dye finished the scoring with 10 minutes left on a free kick from 55 yards out.
“It had some curve and a little arc, but it was drilled,” Reemtsma said. “The keeper was in pretty good position, but he was probably expecting him to try and serve the ball in. As a coach, I was expecting him to serve the ball in.”
Wren Norwood had the shutout in net. Reemtsma said he was tested throughout, especially by crosses into the Kenai box.
Reemtsma also said junior captain Ean Atchley displayed phenomenal work ethic throughout the game.
Kenai girls 2, Grace Christian 0
The visiting Kardinals moved to 5-0-1 with the NLC victory against the Grizzlies.
After a scoreless first half, Heidi Perkins scored twice in the second half to lead the Kards.
Palmer girls 6, Seward 0
The visiting Seahawks dropped to 0-3 after the NLC loss to the Moose.
“We played hard and had the ball up in their zone,” Seward coach James Wayne said. “We’ll get them next time.”
Palmer boys 2, Seward 1
The host Moose scored in the 80th minute to take the NLC win.
“Overall, we played a really good game,” Seward coach Dustin Phillips said after falling to 1-2. “Sometimes you lose late like that.”
Seward grabbed a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute when Alex Estes set up a Jesus Sanchez goal.
Palmer equalized five minutes later, setting up the dramatic finish.
Phillips added that sophomore Kjell Neilson had a good game at goalkeeper.
Colony girls 2, Homer 0
The host Knights received goals from Peyton Johnstone and Natalie Nordland in recording the NLC victory over the Mariners on Saturday.
Colony boys 2, Homer 0
The host Knights scored twice in the second half for an NLC triumph that moved them to 11-3-1 overall this season.
“We did exactly what we wanted to do — we held them within two,” Homer coach Warren Waldorf said after his team fell to 2-2-2. “I’m still not as full strength, but we accomplished what I wanted to do, so I’m happy.”