The Soldotna girls soccer team defeated host Grace Christian 1-0 on Saturday.
Kenai, Soldotna and Homer all are tied atop the Northern Lights Conference Southern Division standings with one loss apiece. The coaches for those three teams are not sure how the tiebreaker will come out, but SoHi coach Jimmy Love said beating a Grace team that Kenai just lost to 2-1 on Friday can’t be a bad thing.
“When you’re at this stage, one seed vs. two seed, you have the ability to determine your future, you should probably take advantage of that,” Soldotna coach Jimmy Love said after his team finished the regular season at 10-5 overall. “I don’t like to put any undue pressure on them, but to me, playing the three seed or four seed at regions is a big difference, although anything can happen at regions.”
Love said his team had the advantage for the first half of the first half, but Grace began dictating the game for the second half of the first half. The Grizzlies kept dictating the flow in the second half.
But Grace didn’t clear a ball properly midway though the second half, and Abi Tuttle took advantage with a shot from 30 yards out.
Ella Stenga was then able to keep a clean sheet. Love said Talon Hagen was great at sweeper, and Kianna Holland cleared a potential goal off the line.
“The team as a whole played really well,” Love said. “You don’t win these types of games if you don’t play well together as a team.”
Soldotna boys 5, Grace 4
The visiting Stars held off a second-half surge by the Grizzlies, getting a hat trick from Alex Montague, to finish their regular season with an 8-7 mark.
“In the first half, we were quite good, quite dominant and I was enjoying it,” Soldotna coach Darryl Byerley said. “In the second half we let them back in the game and had to play another game to get them finished off.”
Soldotna led 4-2 at the end of the first half. Luke Trammell scored unassisted just four minutes into the game, then Montague ran wild.
In the 16th minute, Montague scored on an assist from Eli Sheridan. Then 10 minutes later, Montague scored on another assist from Sheridan. Sheridan and Montague then hooked up again in the final minute of the first half.
But Byerley said Grace had an extended halftime due to senior night, and the Stars came out sluggish. But a goal by Brayden VanMeter, assisted by Ben Godfrey, provided the difference.
Byerley said defensive midfielder Eli Wackler played a solid game, and Sheridan continues to make the whole offense more effective. As a whole, Byerley said the Stars are finding more angles on the field instead of just going up and down the field.
Kenai girls 4, Houston 0
The visiting Kardinals ended the regular season at 10-5 overall by shutting out the Hawks with Kailey Hamilton in net.
“It was just a fun game,” Kenai coach Dan Verkuilen said. “We got to move people around.”
The Kards scored two goals in each half. In the first half, Rebecca Miller played the ball up to Lara Creighton, who scored. Liz Hanson then put the Kards up 2-0 with four minutes to play until half when she scored on a rebound.
In the first minute of the second half, Cassi Holmes got the ball to Hanson 25 yards from the net, and Hanson produced the finish. Just seven minutes later, some tic-tac-toe passing between Annebelle Schneiders, Creighton and Holmes resulted in a goal for Holmes.
Kenai boys 10, Houston 0
The Kardinals finished the regular season with a 13-1 record as Tristan Landry and Kaden McKibben combined to shut out the Hawks.
Kenai will enter the Northern Lights Conference tournament with the No. 1 seed from the Southern Division.
“I feel like we’re confident but not overconfident,” Kenai coach Joel Reemtsma said. “We understand we’ve got to bring the same focus and intensity against the top sides as we do on the first day.”
The Kardinals led 6-0 after the first half against Houston. Luke Beiser started the scoring on an assist from Zack Tuttle just three minutes in. Seven minutes later, Tyrone McEnerney got his first varsity goal on a nice diving header on a corner kick from Damien Redder. Next came Redder on a cross from Braedon Pitsch, Tuttle with two goals on assists from Redder and Max Dye, and Avery Hieber unassisted.
“The guys just played smooth, good soccer,” Reemtsma said. “Houston is definitely improved. They had good energy and intensity all through the game. It was a useful game for us.”
In the second half, Tomas Levy-Canedo scored on a corner from Redder, Braydon Goodman scored on an assist from Hieber, Riley McKee scored unassisted and Rykker Riddall scored on an assist from Dye.
Reemtsma also said he liked the way freshman Travis Verkuilen distributed the ball and was physical when he had to be.
Homer boys 6, Wasilla 1
The Mariners finished up a 9-3 regular season by blowing past the Warriors, with Simon Dye netting a hat trick.
Homer will be the No. 2 seed out of the Southern Division.
In the first half, Homer went up 3-0 on goals from Dye and two strikes from Oliver Beck. In the second half, Dye had goals sandwiching Daniel Reutov’s strike.
Homer coach Warren Waldorf said it was good to see Dye back in form after a recent injury. Dye was able to play the full game.
Dexter Lowe almost got through a full game as he returns from injury, as well.
“We’re feeling pretty good and getting back to full strength,” Waldorf said.
The coach added that Tucker Weston played his first full varsity game in goal and did well, holding the shutout until the 79th minute.
Wasilla girls defeat Homer
The visiting Warriors topped the Mariners as Homer ended the regular season with a 4-8-1 record.