The Soldotna boys won a Northern Lights Conference clash with Nikiski 9-0 Tuesday evening at Justin Maile Field, and if it was presented, they would have walked off with a sportsmanship award as well.
Playing an undermanned Nikiski boys team, the Stars opened up a 3-0 lead at halftime, then decided to take out a few members to help even up the competition on field. The game started with 11 SoHi players to Nikiski’s nine before SoHi coach Darryl Byerley decided to begin the second half with a 9-on-8 disadvantage, as Nikiski only was able to suit up nine players.
“All credit goes to Nikiski,” Byerley said. “They’re showing up and trying to run their program, and it’s tough with only nine kids.”
Nikiski goalkeeper Michael Eiter was kept busy all game with a relentless attack by SoHi, led once again by juniors Eli Sheridan and Luke Trammell and freshman Alex Montague. Each player scored twice to lead the Stars.
Although nine goals does not look great on a stat sheet, Eiter still managed to put on a show with a number of stealthy saves. Nikiski head coach Harrison Deveer praised Eiter’s performance and his defensive line.
“He had a lot of saves, he’s a young star,” Deveer said. “We moved the ball well, spread the ball, and to only be down three goals at halftime was impressive.”
Deveer said he is expecting a few more players to join the Nikiski team once grade eligibility and physical checks go through, so the goal for the rest of the season is to pick up one win.
Soldotna hit .500 on the season, improving to 4-4 overall, while Nikiski dropped to 0-5 overall, but only 0-2 in actual varsity competition. The Bulldogs skipped a road trip last weekend to the Valley because of their low numbers, and the scheduled contests are officially scored as forfeits.
Sheridan opened the scoring Tuesday just four minutes in, then Montague teamed up with Trammell to notch his first goal at the eight-minute mark on a slick header. Trammell scored in the 14th minute to put SoHi up 3-0, and Byerley subbed in his bench players at the 25th minute.
After halftime, SoHi scored only 15 seconds in on a header by Sheridan, with help from Trammell, who then added his second of the day two minutes later. Montague scored less than a minute after that, putting the home team up 6-0.
At least half of the game was played with SoHi’s bench players on the field, and it led to three second-half goals by a trio of fresh faces, including Gavin Goggia and Braden Lemm. Kameron Hanson earned the shutout in goal for SoHi.
Soldotna girls 6, Nikiski 0
The SoHi girls completed the sweep over Nikiski Tuesday night with four goals from senior Abi Tuttle.
The Stars improved to 5-4 overall with the win. Head coach Jimmy Love said he thought his squad continued showing improvements after a recent struggle. Tuesday’s win was the third straight for SoHi after a two-game losing streak to Kenai Central and Homer.
“The scoring doesn’t always indicate how we’re doing,” Love said. “Even with just two goals at halftime, it doesn’t show how well we possessed the ball.”
Soldotna led 2-0 at halftime with a pair of goals from Tuttle, who opened the scoring with help from Elena Bramante and Journey Miller two minutes in. Tuttle scored again with an assist from Whitney Wortham at the 20-minute mark.
Tuttle completed her hat trick about 35 seconds into the second half with an assist from Ryann Cannava.
“I think she had a little extra spark because she missed some games,” Love said about Tuttle, who missed last weekend’s home games against Kodiak for school reasons.
The Stars finished the game with goals from Trinity Ames with an assist from Wortham in the 60th minute, Tuttle from Torri Hensley in the 63rd and Cameron Blackwell in the 75th minute with help from Ames.
Love started Ella Stenga in goal for the first half, then brought on Abby Kruse to finish the game.