Kenai Central’s Ryker Dykema heads in a corner kick for a goal Thursday, May 9, 2024, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Ryker Dykema heads in a corner kick for a goal Thursday, May 9, 2024, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Thursday soccer: Kardinals get sweep on senior night

The Kenai Central girls and boys soccer teams celebrated senior night by sweeping Houston in nonconference matches Thursday.

The Kenai girls topped the Hawks 12-0 to move to 10-2-1 overall, while the Kardinals boys notched a 6-0 win to move to 8-4-0.

The seniors honored were Grace Beiser, Abby Castillo, Chloe Grimm, Tabitha Kernan, Isabel McClure, Kylee Verkuilen and Nova Ziegler for the Kenai girls, and Jacob Blum, Aloshia Cross, Pearce Diaz, Zane Tews and William Wilson for the Kenai boys.

The Kenai girls jumped to a 7-0 lead after the first half. Verkuilen scored unassisted, Sarah Baisden scored on an assist from Kate Wisnewski, Brynnen Hanson scored on a Verkuilen assist, Tait Cooper scored on a Katie Johnson assist, Hanson scored after a Wisnewski long ball sent Verkuilen into the box, Kernan scored on a penalty kick, and McClure scored on a Wisnewski assist.

In the second half, Baisden scored on a Hanson assist, Grimm scored off a Hanson cross, Hanson scored with help from Johnson, McClure scored on a Cooper assist, and McClure finished her hat trick with help from Seanna Swanson.

Kenai coach Dan Verkuilen said he was happy to get through the game without any injuries.

“We wanted to make sure the kids were moving the ball and getting shots and making good passes,” he said. “Then at a certain point, we just wanted to rest everybody.”

Verkuilen said all of the seniors have been with him for six years. He said it seems like he’s known a lot of them forever because they are the same age as his daughter, Kylee.

“It’s really neat to see the young ladies they’ve grown up to be, not just soccer players, but really nice kids,” he said. “Some have played JV and varsity, but they don’t look down on it. They play hard when they get a chance.

“I appreciate the fact that our team really does care about each other.”

Maddie Malone had the shutout for Kenai.

Kenai boys 6, Houston 0

The Kardinals scored three goals in each half to take down the Hawks.

In the first half, Sawyer Vann scored on a Miles Metteer assist, Cross scored, and Vann scored on a cross from Cross.

In the second half, Ryker Dykema beat a few defenders before slotting in a goal, Dykema headed in a corner kick from Trae Pitsch, and Diaz battled for a long ball and scored in the box.

Bradley Morrison and Zach Armstrong combined on the shutout. Morrison was in the net when a Houston penalty kick clanged off the post.

“I thought the passing was excellent,” Kenai head coach Shane Lopez said. “And the communication was very good.

“The goals were very nice. They were team goals.”

Lopez said all the seniors played very well, with Cross leading the charge in the midfield and Wilson playing well out of the back.

Lopez also continues to be impressed with how far Gavin Liles has come in his second year playing soccer.

“As a defensive back, he defends well,” Lopez said. “He’s there to distribute the ball and he’s making runs forward and helping with the offense.”

As for all the seniors, Lopez said they had to deal with masking rules and inconsistent sports early in their careers due to the pandemic. He said many kept not only playing soccer, but other sports as well.

Lopez said the group rolls with the punches well.

“I think that calm comes from that experience of what they came up with in those early years and having to adapt,” Lopez said. “It shows in their leadership.”

Soldotna girls 5, Palmer 0

The host Stars are 10-0-2 after taking down the Moose in Thursday nonconference play.

Ryan Queen posted the shutout in net for Soldotna.

The goals were Morgan Lemm from Sadie Lane and Emily O’Reagan, Lemm unassisted, Lemm finishing the hat trick with help from Bay Bloom, Bay Bloom unassisted, and O’Reagan on assists from Lemm and Kaytlin McAnelly.

Soldotna boys 3, Palmer 1

The host Stars got a pair of goals early and hung on for a Thursday nonconference victory that has their overall record at 11-0-1.

Simon Willets started the scoring for the Stars in the 14th minute on a penalty kick, while Nuno Venturi scored just two minutes later.

Early in the second half, the Moose earned a penalty shot and Fischer Adams buried it.

“They are a tough team,” Soldotna coach Erik Dolphin wrote in a text message. “We had a bunch of chances, but they are good on the counterattack.

“We hit the post two or three times and their keeper came up with a few huge saves to preserve the 2-1 score.”

Dolphin said the Moose pushed up the field at the end of the game looking for the tie. In stoppage time, Andrew Arthur ran onto a long ball and laid it off to Gehret Medcoff, who scored to ice the game.

Dolphin wrote that there was an early kickoff time due to events in school, and there was a hailstorm during the game, so he was happy his team came up with a gritty win to stay unbeaten.

Homer girls 6, Redington 0

The host Mariners improved to 6-3-3 overall with a nonconference victory over the Huskies on Thursday.

Christi Weisser posted the shutout in net for Homer.

Ruby Hill and Talia Weisser both had a pair of goals for the Mariners, while Channing Lowney and Lou Wise added tallies.

Homer boys 9, Redington 0

The host Mariners moved to 6-4-1 overall with the Thursday nonconference triumph.

Nathan Overson had the shutout for Homer.

Reid Rauch scored four goals, while Kai Waltenbaugh had two and Kaiden Bogie, Michael Reutov and Espen Hennick added tallies.

Kenai Central’s Chloe Grimm takes a shot in front of Houston’s Bella Russell on Thursday, May 9, 2024, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Chloe Grimm takes a shot in front of Houston’s Bella Russell on Thursday, May 9, 2024, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Brynnen Hanson celebrates her goal with Kate Wisnewski on Thursday, May 9, 2024, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Brynnen Hanson celebrates her goal with Kate Wisnewski on Thursday, May 9, 2024, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central goalie Bradley Morrison makes a save in front of Houston’s Thanakrit Prakaipet on Thursday, May 9, 2024, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central goalie Bradley Morrison makes a save in front of Houston’s Thanakrit Prakaipet on Thursday, May 9, 2024, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

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