The visiting Soldotna girls soccer team defeated Homer 2-0 in a Saturday matchup of the top two teams in the Peninsula Conference.
The Stars move to 4-0-1 in the league and 7-2-1 overall, while Homer falls to 3-1-1 and 4-1-1.
“I’ve been critical of how we played depending on who we’ve played,” Soldotna coach Jimmy Love said. “Honestly, when the came was over, I told them, ‘This is the way I expect you to play every single game.’
“The intensity, desire, want, grit — they had that today.”
Late in the first half, the Stars took the lead when Bay Bloom scored on a Sierra Kuntz corner kick.
Love said his squad had more chances early in the game, but Homer continually pressed forward in the second half trying to find the equalizer. Love said there were some close calls, but Kuntz, on an assist from Katie Delker, sealed it in the 34th minute.
Sunny Miller had the shutout in net for the Stars.
Homer coach Mike Tozzo also thought his side played well, but added that SoHi is a tough team that found a way to win.
“It was a frustrating game,” Tozzo said. “I think we’re pretty even and the score didn’t indicate that.”
Tozzo said goalie Felicia Weisser had nine or 10 saves, but the coach added his defense didn’t yield many clear opportunities to score.
“I thought we played well enough to win, it just didn’t go our way,” Tozzo said. “We had plenty of chances.”
Soldotna boys 5, Homer 1
Josh Hieber had four goals as the visiting Stars moved to 4-0-1 in the league and 6-1-1 overall, while Homer fell to 1-3-1 and 1-3-2.
“Josh scored some of the best goals I’ve seen this season,” Soldotna coach Erik Dolphin said. “He kind of was hard to handle.”
Jose Montague had the other goal for the Stars.
SoHi was leading 2-0 when Hunter Green scored for Homer. The Stars had it 3-1 by the end of the first half.
Dolphin said goalie Gehret Medcoff kept the score down with a few nice saves in the second half.
The coach said Ty Wackler did well in getting some time up front with Trenton O’Reagan off at a track meet. Dolphin continues to push Zac Buckbee, Tyler Johnson and Aiden Willets as all-conference defenders.
“We look forward to our next games coming up to work on things leading up to regions,” Homer coach Adam Diaz said. “We’re going to stay positive and keep fighting until the end. That’s the only thing we can do.”
Kenai boys 8, Nikiski 0
The visiting Kardinals improved to 2-0-2 in Peninsula Conference play and 5-2-2 overall with the Saturday victory. Nikiski falls to 0-3 and 0-7.
The Kards received two goals from Leif Lofquist and one apiece from Samuel Baisden, Wade James, Koa Diorec, Lucas Tunseth, Ky Calvert and Tucker Vann.
Kenai coach Shane Lopez said it was the first goal of Vann’s varsity career. Vann is a senior but plays defensive midfielder, which means he doesn’t get many scoring chances.
Lopez also gave Lofquist credit for eight goals going to seven different players. Lofquist is the only player up top, so he often gets the ball with his back to the goal and is responsible for feeding others.
“Leif did a great job leading the offense and making sure we were distributing,” Lopez said.
The coach also said freshman Aloshia Cross came in and did a great job at midfield.
Nikiski coach Harrison Deveer said he thought his team would do better against the Kards.
“They played an amazing game,” Deveer said. “They were moving the ball around pretty well and the defense could not keep up with them.”
It was an emotional day for Deveer as he honored eight seniors — the first group he had coached from middle school all the way through high school.
“I felt a really strong bond with every single one of them,” Deveer said.
The seniors are Sam Smith, Jim Lamping, Gavin White, Caileb Payne, Trevor Mysing, Austin Stafford, Christopher Druesedow and Alex Johnson.
Deveer said all the seniors played well, but he said Druesedow was particularly good on defense and Sam Smith was good at midfield.
Juneau girls 15, Nikiski 0
The Bulldogs dropped to 0-9 with a loss to the defending Division II state champions.
“The girls hustled hard and worked defense more than offense,” Nikiski coach Angie Coelho wrote in an email.
Coelho wrote she was impressed with the way Celina Martinez was able to clear the ball from defense to midfield. Emma Weeks was in net and had to deal with more than 40 shots.
The Nikiski girls honored seniors Katrina Isabell, Lillian Carstens, Rosalie Anderson and Cailin Yeager.
Juneau girls 1, Kenai 0
The host Kardinals dropped to 1-7-1 overall with the Friday nonconference loss to the defending Division II state champions, but Kardinals coach Dan Verkuilen saw plenty to like in the loss.
“The girls played well all the way through,” Verkuilen said. “It was a good, tough battle.”
The coach told his team before the game that each player would have to play their position and not worry about covering for others because Juneau is so good. Verkuilen said the Kards did that, and took the risks along the way that makes a team better.
“They were really disciplined in holding their position and not stabbing for the ball,” the coach said. “They kept them from running through, so they took quite a few shots from 20 to 25 yards out.”
Verkuilen said goalie Emma Beck did a great job handling those shots. Verkuilen said Juneau’s goal at the end of the first half was too good a shot to stop.
The coach said Valerie Villegas led a defense that was solid all game. Kylee Verkuilen and Bethany Morris did well in the midfield, while Kori Moore played well at forward.
Verkuilen said Kenai did have some offensive pressure, but didn’t have a lot of scoring chances.
“It’s fun to watch the progression, but we do have to put the ball in the net,” he said. “That’s an ongoing thing.”