Soldotna soccer sweeps Nikiski

The host Soldotna girls and boys soccer teams swept Nikiski on Monday at Justin Maile Field.

The Soldotna girls moved to 3-0 overall by topping the Bulldogs 9-0. Nikiski fell to 1-4 overall after the game.

The Stars boys got a hat trick from Charalambos Asimakopoulos in a 3-0 victory in NLC Southern Division play. The Nikiski boys are 2-3 overall and 0-2 in the division, while the SoHi boys are 4-1 and 1-0.

The Soldotna girls controlled the game from the beginning, scoring in the second minute en route to a 7-0 lead at the half.

Miranda Wolfe had two goals and two assists to lead the attack, while Abby Tuttle had two goals and Makenna Rosin had a goal and an assist.

Also for the Stars, Brianna Bennett, Whitney Wortham, Jaela Hubbard and Alyssa Wolfe had goals, and Alex Ashe, Skylar Shaw, Emmalee Johnson, Reagan Schoessler, Hannah Wells and Kyle Hastings had assists.

Despite the quick goal, SoHi coach Jimmy Love wasn’t pleased with the way his team started the game, noting the second goal didn’t come until the 10th minute.

“We have to play our game, and I don’t know that we did that coming out,” Love said. “We can’t afford to do that against teams like South and Dimond, because then we will be playing from behind.”

As the game went on, Love was happy with the way the Stars were playing to space on through balls. He said the emphasis thus far has been playing to feet, but when a team overcommits, the next step is to play to space. Love was happy with the way his team made that adjustment.

Maddie Kindred and then Miranda Wolfe combined for the shutout in goal. Neither had any tough saves, even though the Stars were subbing liberally.

“We wanted the girls that started to get quality time, then we wanted to get our subs some quality time,” Love said. “For the most part, we were able to do that.”

The Bulldogs got back from Kodiak at 4 a.m. Sunday morning, but coach Troy Zimmerman wasn’t about to blame that for the tough start.

“I don’t know if there is ever a good day to play Soldotna,” he said. “They’re a tough bunch of girls. They’re skilled and fast.”

For the first half, Zimmerman wasn’t happy with how his squad was defending, but he said the team improved as the game went on.

“At halftime, I said it would be a victory for us if they scored less in the second half,” Zimmerman said. “There were a couple of factors that led to them scoring less, like Soldotna subbing, but we did play better.”

Rachel Thompson was moved back to help the defense in the first half, and Zimmerman said that helped. He also said Hallie Riddall and Penelope Litzen stepped up on defense, and Brianna Vollertson held up well in goal.

“Anytime a goalkeeper is getting peppered like that, if they are able to stay focused and not get down, that’s a big tribute to any goalkeeper,” Zimmerman said.

Soldotna boys 3, Nikiski 0

Asimakopoulos struck three times in the first half as the Stars moved to 2-0 this year against the Bulldogs.

He said the goals came about due to good passing by his team.

“We started moving the ball to the outside, spreading the field and talking more,” Asimakopoulos said. “The forwards made more dynamic runs and created more space.”

The first goal came just five minutes in, when Eli Sheridan flicked a header to Asimakopoulos.

Just two minutes later, Asimakopoulos banged a shot off the crossbar from close range.

“It came down and literally hit right on the line,” he said.

In the 10th minute, head coach Darryl Byerley’s plan to build the attack through short passes was in full bloom as the Stars started with a goalie pass in the back, then patiently worked the ball up the field until Dylan Kuntz found Asimakopoulos with a through ball for another goal.

“I don’t feel we played well at the beginning,” Nikiski coach Jim Coburn said. “They had some nice give-and-goes and some well-executed passing.

“We gave a lot more effort in the second half.”

In the 32nd minute, Asimakopoulos completed the hat trick on an assist from Dylan Ackerman.

The second half was relatively uneventful. Coburn said his team marked a lot better. Asimakopoulos and Byerley said the Stars got away from their patient, lateral passing game and played into Nikiski’s hands.

“We tried to play more physical when we should have stuck to passing,” Asimakopoulos said.

Coburn said Nathan Carstens played a complete game in the midfield, and also said Sullivan Jackson acquitted himself well in net.

Both Asimakopoulos and Byerley gave credit to Dylan Kuntz for an energetic game at defensive midfield.

“He’s the motor,” Byerley said.

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