A trio of second-half goals gave the Soldotna boys the win they deserved over Wasilla on a sun-splashed Saturday afternoon at Justin Maile Field. Soldotna toppled Wasilla 3-1 to win the Northern Lights Conference meeting and improve to 11-3 overall.
“Wasilla definitely provided a game, but we were having trouble possessing and finishing,” said SoHi coach Darryl Byerley. “The opportunities were plenty, but goals were few.”
The Stars dominated the proceedings by putting 13 shots on goal to the Warrior’s four, but it was Wasilla that held a 1-0 lead at halftime, thanks to a goal by Warriors midfielder Kyle Broach 18 minutes in.
However, things began to unravel quickly for the Warriors, starting with a yellow card that was issued to head coach Danny Kilanowski in the 30th minute. Just two minutes later, Kilanowski was given a red card, which meant his ejection from the game, forcing him to the sidelines.
With their coach out of the picture, the Warriors began pressing harder to contain SoHi’s advances, which led to a yellow given to midfielder Trout Millhouse just before the first half ended.
The Stars finally got their offense going in the second half.
“We began possessing the ball better in the second half,” said sophomore Eli Sheridan. “We were sending too many balls through in the first half.”
Eric Mayoral finally broke through with a goal for SoHi in the 58th minute to tie things up at one apiece. Mayoral collected a pass from the right side of the goal box to slot in the equalizer.
Sheridan then played his part in the victory, getting a well-timed cross from Mayoral in the 64th minute and settling the ball at his feet for the go-ahead goal.
“I just played it chest to feet and had the space to do it,” Sheridan said.
Timmy Smithwick nearly sent in a third SoHi goal just four minutes later, getting behind the goalie on a through ball, but missed from close range after a Wasilla defender beat him to the ball at the goal line. Because the ball went out off the Wasilla defender, SoHi was awarded a corner kick, and nearly converted when Drew Kant got his head on the ball.
Kant finally did convert on a corner kick that Johnny Smithwick took in the 70th minute. Kant finished off the scoring with a boot from close range on a corner kick that was originally headed by Dylan Kuntz, which iced the game.
Soldotna girls 2, Wasilla 1
The Stars held off a late charge by the Warriors to hold on to a scrappy conference victory Saturday at Soldotna.
SoHi coach Jimmy Love expressed the importance of beating the Warriors, who have played the Stars close in recent years.
“They played Kenai to a 3-2 victory (on Friday), so any time you take a win over a Valley team, it’s a big plus,” Love said.
SoHi moved to 10-3 overall, while Wasilla dropped to 9-3-2 overall.
Maddie Kindred returned in goal for the Stars and stopped nine out of 10 shots sent her way. The sophomore goalie has spent much of the season thus far on the sidelines with a prior injury, but made her second start of the year and will likely stay there for good.
Elena Bramante opened the scoring in the seventh minute with a header on a corner kick, putting the Stars up 1-0. It took until the last minute of regulation in the first half for SoHi to score again, as Jaela Hubbard received a through ball in the left corner and delivered the strike for a 2-0 lead.
As the minutes ticked down in the second half, Wasilla became increasingly desperate to salvage a good result, and play became rougher. Finally, with two minutes remaining in regulation, Wasilla’s Alia Donley caught a ball kicked from midfield and slotted home a goal to close the gap.
Alyssa Wolfe and Reagan Schoessler both were handed yellow cards in the final minutes, giving the Warriors a pair of free kick opportunities, but none were converted.
Soldotna girls 4, Houston 0
The host Stars struck four times in the first half to move to 9-3 overall. Maddie Kindred posted the shutout as seniors Reagan Schoessler, Alyssa Wolfe, Brianna Bennett, Andrea Krol, Anna Wrobel, Kearstin Yarnes, Ashley Martin and Sophia Rossini were honored for senior day.
“With the exception of Anna Wrobel, all of them put in four years with me or another school,” Soldotna coach Jimmy Love said. “This is kind of like a shining moment for them.
“Congratulations to them for making it through their senior year.”
Within the first eight minutes, SoHi led 2-0 as Whitney Wortham scored on assists from Abi Tuttle and Alyssa Wolfe, and Elena Bramante scored unassisted.
Jaela Hubbard, assisted by Bramante, and Tuttle, assisted by Hannah Delker, made it 4-0 at the half.
Love said his squad was working on three things during the game, but he would only reveal the one the Stars did poorly — shooting.
Soldotna boys 12, Houston 0
The host Stars moved to 10-3 overall by cruising past the Hawks on Friday.
Blake Jones had the shutout in goal on a day when seniors Dylan Kuntz, Drew Kant, Tommy Flores, Connor Larson, Seth Hutchison, Timmy Smithwick, Eric Mayoral and Andrew Hammond were honored for senior day.
SoHi took a 7-0 lead in the first half. The goals were Kuntz from Mayoral, Hammond from Kuntz, Hammond from Timmy Smithwick, Timmy Smithwick from Johnny Smithwick, Mayoral from Hammond, Kuntz unassisted and Hutchison from Hammond. In the second half, Larson scored with help from Kant, Timmy Smithwick scored on a Kant helper, Kant scored unassisted, Ethan Bott scored on an assist from Luke Trammell, and Johnny Smithwick scored unassisted.