The host Homer girls soccer team defeated Soldotna 1-0 on Friday to clinch the top seed in the Peninsula Conference tournament.
The Mariners are 5-0 in the league and 8-4-2 overall, while the Stars fall to 1-2-1 and 4-4-2.
Homer coach Mike Tozzo said this is the first time the Mariners have clinched the top seed since he started coaching in 2016.
“The kids are awesome,” Tozzo said. “They worked really hard for this. People don’t see all the things happening outside of the game. They just see those 80 minutes.”
With 19 minutes left in the game, Ava Halstead got the ball to Debbie Weisser for the deciding goal. Felicia Weisser had the shutout for Homer.
“These teams are so even,” Tozzo said. “They know anyone can win, so that adds a whole other element to the game.”
Tozzo said he rotated a bunch of defenders in throughout the game and they all did well. The defenders were Goldie Hill, Serena Fankhauser, Sidney Flora, Hannah Stonorov, Olivia Glassman, Addi Grimes and Mariah McGuire.
Soldotna coach Jimmy Love said his team played well, especially considering the Stars were missing a few players to injury.
“We definitely had opportunities,” Love said. “We need to put the ball in the back of the net. We didn’t, and that’s the end result.”
The coach said freshmen Anika Jedlicka, Jazzalynn McDonald and Kendra Rose were forced into action by the injuries and did a great job.
Soldotna boys 4, Homer 1
The visiting Stars moved to 3-1 in the Peninsula Conference and 4-4-1 overall by dropping the Mariners to 2-3 in the league and 5-8-1 overall.
Both Homer coach Adam Diaz and Soldotna coach Erik Dolphin said the Mariners controlled the game early.
“We were connecting passes and communicating for about the first 30 minutes of the first half,” Diaz said.
Dolphin said his team had a few injuries, leading to a different lineup, and it took his team awhile to get into the game.
Maleda Denbrock scored first for SoHi on a penalty kick.
Jake Tappan then answered in the 26th minute for Homer with a direct free kick from 18 yards out.
“It was bar down,” Diaz said. “It was pretty awesome.”
Brock Poe and Denbrock would score for SoHi before the first half was up, then Jace O’Reagan scored off a scrum off a corner kick in the second half.
Dolphin said Quinn Cox had a great game in the midfield, winning balls, running up the wing and sending a few crosses that resulted in goals. The coach added Zac Buckbee was strong as usual in the midfield, while defender Hamilton Hunt and goalie Gehret Medcoff had some big moments with some of SoHi’s regular defenders out of the lineup.
Diaz said it’s always fun to play SoHi due to the intense rivalry. He said his team got off a lot more shots against the Stars than in the first game.
The coach gave credit to freshmen defenders Kaiden Bogie and Rocco Flora for stepping up and playing a strong game.
Dimond boys 6, Kenai 0
The host Kardinals, a Division II school, got a look at what Kenai coach Shane Lopez said is probably the top Division I team in the state. Kenai is 5-5-2.
The Lynx led 2-0 after the first half, and Lopez said the score was 3-0 with 15 minutes left in the game. At that point, the coach said tired legs set in for the Kards.
“It was a good performance by our guys and we learned some things,” Lopez said. “Good teams capitalize on your mistakes and it’s not a bad thing to see some of those mistakes.”
Lopez said freshman midfielder Carson Grimm had a solid game, along with fellow freshmen Sawyer Vann and Cole Langham. The coach also said Joe Hamilton moved to center back for the game and did a good job slowing the Dimond attack.
Ketchikan boys 13, Nikiski 0
The Bulldogs fell to 0-7-1 overall with the nonconference loss to the Kings.