Kenai Central’s Joe Hamilton and Tucker Vann take on Soldotna’s Josh Heiber on Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Joe Hamilton and Tucker Vann take on Soldotna’s Josh Heiber on Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna, Homer soccer notch sweeps

The Soldotna girls soccer team doesn’t have goals yet, but they got some Tuesday.

The Stars defeated host Kenai Central 4-0 in a nonconference match.

Due to a late thaw, the goals on Soldotna’s field are still buried in ice.

“We don’t have goals yet,” Soldotna girls head coach Jimmy Love said after moving to 1-0 overall. “That definitely impacted our play. We have no reference for size and location.”

That didn’t stop Liberty Miller, Bay Bloom, Morgan Lemm and Rhys Cannava from scoring Tuesday.

Miller struck first four minutes into the game on a pass from Cannava.

In the 19th minute, Grace McElroy played the ball to Lemm, who crossed to a finish by Bloom.

In the 29th minute, Katie Delker got the ball to Bloom, who found Morgan Lemm on a cross.

“Soldotna is a very disciplined team,” Kenai coach Dan Verkuilen said after falling to 1-1 overall. “They’ve got great technical skill. They’re fun to watch.”

Verkuilen said he has a young team and the nonconference match was a great chance to test players out at various positions.

“We’re playing to be our best at regions,” Verkuilen said.

The coach said he was happy with the improvement his squad showed by giving up one goal in the second half as opposed to three goals in the first half. Verkuilen said goalie Emma Beck faced more pressure than she ever has before and handled that pressure well.

That second-half goal for the Stars came 18 minutes into the second half when Lily Coon got the ball to Cannava, who went on a long run to score.

Sunny Miller got the shutout for the Stars.

Love said his team did a better job shooting the ball from 18 yards out in the second half instead of trying to dribble into a crowded penalty area. He said the Stars could still do better on 50-50 balls, controlling their first touches and switching the ball quicker across the back on defense.

Soldotna boys 4, Kenai Central 1

The visiting Stars got a hat trick from Josh Heiber in notching the nonconference victory.

SoHi is 1-0 overall, while the Kards are 1-1.

Soldotna coach Erik Dolphin said it’s early in the season, but getting a victory over the two-time defending Division II state champs is always nice.

“It’s a huge win, especially this early in the season,” Dolphin said. “Especially with how little field time we’ve had. We still have no goals at Soldotna.”

Dylan Walton got the scoring started for the Stars in the 23rd minute, then Heiber had it 3-0 by halftime.

In the second half, Leif Lofquist cut it to 3-1 on a penalty shot, but Heiber finished the scoring with a breakaway.

Dolphin said the key to the victory was the back line of Aiden Willets, Tyler Johnson and Zac Buckbee holding down Kenai’s dangerous attack. Jose Montague and Walton also did a solid job playing right in front of that defensive line.

Despite the solid defense, Dolphin said goalie Gehret Medcoff was called on to make a few incredible saves and came through.

Kenai coach Shane Lopez said his squad grew into the game.

“I’m happy with the way we responded,” he said. “We easily could have come out in the second half and hung our shoulders, but we played pretty good in the second half.”

He said Koa Diorec had a solid game at outside midfield, while Tucker Vann and River Tomrdle also did well at midfield.

Homer girls 9, Nikiski 1

The host Mariners received a hat trick from Sela Weisser in notching a conference victory over the Bulldogs.

Jess Sonnen added two goals for Homer, while Paige Jones, Laura Inama, Debbie Weisser and Maddox Berg added goals.

Felicia Weisser allowed a goal in net.

“It was a good game for us because it was only our second time on turf,” Homer girls head coach Mike Tozzo said after moving to 1-0. “We’ve been in the gym for a month. We got the turf cleared of ice yesterday so we could play today.”

The coach said the Mariners did a good job of translating practiced skills of the gym to the field. He said Homer completed passes, used good communication and built the attack up from the back.

Tozzo said Jones had a great game at defensive midfield.

Lillian Carstens had the goal for the Bulldogs and coach Angie Coelho also said Carstens had a big impact on defense.

Coelho said Zoey Ellis had a strong game at forward and attacked all game. Avery White and Julia Smith also hustled all game while finding open passes and holding good position.

Emma Weeks played goalie in the first half for Nikiski, while Daisy Hicks played the second half.

Homer boys 6, Nikiski 0

The host Mariners received a hat trick from sophomore Owen Pitzman in moving to 1-0 in the conference and 1-0 overall.

“All the kids played a good game,” Homer boys head coach Adam Diaz said.

The coach said a few players came to the field Sunday to clear ice off the field and make the game possible.

In the first half, Pitzman scored on an assist from Casey Otis, then Hunter Green scored a penalty kick, then Seamus McDonough scored in the 40th minute.

Just eight minutes into the second half, Pitzman scored on an assist from Austin Cline. In the 68th minute, McDonough scored on a Pitzman assist, then Pitzman scored with five minutes left on a Thatcher Lowney assist.

Lucas Story and Theo McDonough combined on the shutout.

Niksiki head coach Harrison Deveer said his squad played a competitive game despite having 11 players to start and finishing short-handed while battling injuries.

“Even though we lost 6-0, the goals were easily preventable,” Deveer said after falling to 0-2.

The coach said James Lansing and Trevor Mysing had great games on defense.

Kenai Central’s Amber Nash and Soldotna’s Rhys Cannava battle for the ball Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Amber Nash and Soldotna’s Rhys Cannava battle for the ball Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

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