Soldotna’s Simon Willets and Nikiski’s Jakeup Martin battle for the ball Monday, May 9, 2022, at Nikiski High School in Nikiski, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Simon Willets and Nikiski’s Jakeup Martin battle for the ball Monday, May 9, 2022, at Nikiski High School in Nikiski, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

SoHi soccer takes 2 from Nikiski

The Soldotna girls and boys soccer teams traveled to Nikiski to record Peninsula Conference victories Monday.

The Stars girls registered a 12-1 win to move to 2-2-1 in the league and 5-4-2 overall. The Bulldogs fall to 0-6 and 0-9.

The Stars boys triumphed 7-0 to improve to 4-1 in the league and 5-5-1 overall. Nikiski is 0-6 and 0-9-1.

Soldotna girls coach Jimmy Love and SoHi boys coach Erik Dolphin both said the games were an important look at Nikiski’s home pitch. The Bulldogs will host the Peninsula Conference tournament.

Nikiski plays on a grass field. Monday was Soldotna’s only regular season game on grass.

“I made sure that the girls were aware that they need to get a feel for the ball and understand how it’s different than on turf,” Love said. “The balls weren’t traveling as fast.”

Love also said the Nikiski field is a similar width to the standard turf field, but is not as long. Love said it will take girls one less kick to get the ball from end to end.

“I think it’s going to be a huge change,” the coach said. “When you get Homer and Kenai and us on this. … It’s going to change the way those teams play.”

Meanwhile, Dolphin said goalies will be able to boot the ball nearly all the way to the penalty area.

“Everything is tightened up out there,” Dolphin said. “That’s a change we’ll have to learn to play with.”

The goals for the Soldotna girls were Caylee Uribe-Koivisto from Morgan Lemm, Lemm from Uribe-Koivisto and Jolie Widaman, Sadie Lane from Liberty Miller, Katharine Bramante from Widaman, Bay Bloom from Bramante and Sariah Waugh, Jazzalyn McDonald from Zayra Poage and Bramante, Widaman unassisted, Lane from Bramante, Bloom from Widaman, Kendra Rose unassisted, Poage unassisted and Caleigh Glassmaker unassisted.

Love said he wanted his team to work on spreading out and moving the ball. The coach said the Stars did a good job of that earlier in the game, but added running turned to jogging as the game wore on.

The Bulldogs were able to get a goal in the second half from Mady Stichal, assisted by Brooke Abel. Emma Weeks had over 50 saves in net for the Bulldogs.

This was the second goal Nikiski scored this season. Bulldogs coach Angie Coelho was proud of her team for continuing to put in the effort that resulted in the goal. Nikiski had only 10 players available Monday.

“They don’t give up,” Coelho said. “That’s a good quality of this team. They may be down by 11, but they’re not going to give up until it’s over.

“And they’re starting to look better and better.”

Coelho also lauded Fairyn Townsend, in only her second season of playing soccer, for leading the team in steals with five. The Bulldogs also honored Stichal and manager Jordyn Flynn as part of senior day.

Zac Buckbee led the Stars boys with a hat trick. Those were the first goals of the sophomore captain’s high school career, according to Dolphin. The coach continued to compliment the midfielder for playing the game the right way.

Daniel Heath, Silas Larsen, Simon Willets and Andrew Arthur also scored for the Stars. Heath, Gehret Medcoff and Arthur shared the shutout in goal.

Dolphin said it was a good team effort, with everybody on the bench getting some playing time.

The Bulldogs honored Ayden Fleming for senior day.

“He has been a leader on the field and a captain throughout the season,” Nikiski coach Jeremy Garrett wrote in a text message.

Soldotna’s Alex Lee and Nikiski’s Fairyn Townsend battle for the ball Monday, May 9, 2022, at Nikiski High School in Nikiski, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Alex Lee and Nikiski’s Fairyn Townsend battle for the ball Monday, May 9, 2022, at Nikiski High School in Nikiski, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

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