Cory Carver scored a hat trick en route to helping Soldotna beat crosstown rival Kenai Central 5-1 in Northern Lights Conference play Thursday at Soldotna.
Cameron Grothe chipped in the other two goals for Soldotna in the first half.
“Our guys finished well, and it was good to see that,” Soldotna head coach Jeff Siemers said. “They came out pretty strong in the second, so we just tried to keep our game going and not give up that momentum we had early in the game.”
Grothe got the scoring started early, as he put the ball in the net in the first minute.
Carver then extended Soldotna’s lead in the 16th minute with his first goal, and Grothe added one more before the half ended to give the Stars a 3-0 lead.
In the second half, Kenai put pressure on Soldotna as the Kards tried to rally back.
“I don’t feel like they dominated, as far as controlling the game,” Kenai coach John Morton said. “They had some nice finishes.”
Alex Springer was able to knock the ball in in the 58th minute to pull within two goals of Soldotna, but that is all the Kards were able to muster.
“Our team played pretty well, we just had some critical mistakes,” Morton said. “SoHi has some pretty good finishers, and that’s what we knew coming in. Cory is a good player, and he was a little too much to handle on defense a couple times.”
Carver was able to complete his hat trick in the waning moments of the game, scoring in the 78th and 80th minutes.
“We’ll be continuing to work on our possession and other strengths as we head towards the end of the season,” Siemers said.
Soldotna will host the Houston Hawks on Friday at 5:30 p.m., and Kenai will host the Wasilla Warriors at 6 p.m.
Soldotna girls 2, Kenai 1
The Soldotna girls fought hard in a win against the Kardinals on Thursday afternoon at Soldotna.
After a scoreless first half that saw most of the action played out on Kenai’s side of the field, the Stars finally found the back of the Kenai net, as Phoebe Napolitano scored with an assist from Miranda Wolfe in the 47th minute.
However, the Kardinals found something that worked, as Jenna Calhoun scored for Kenai with an assist from Heidi Perkins in the 55th minute.
“When (Soldotna) got that goal early in the second, it’s like the lights went on, and we were getting chances,” Kenai coach Dan Verkuilen said.
However, Kenai’s joy was short-lived, as Julie Litchfield scored one minute later in the 56th minute, with a perfectly timed cross pass from Miranda Wolfe.
“It was perfectly set up,” Soldotna head coach Jimmy Love said. “We’ve talked about it, it’s not about the prettiness of it, it’s about the accuracy, and they had pinpoint passing all the way up to the finish which was great.”
Love said the fact the Stars were playing Kenai is what motivated the team.
“I made it very simple today,” Love said. “I didn’t have to say anything. It’s a Kenai-Soldotna game, and they knew what was in front of them, and I think we did a good job possessing the ball, and maintaining control in the first half.
“Some of the bounces weren’t going our way, but they kept firing, and it was bound to happen.”
Verkuilen said the intensity picked up in the second half, and the battle for possession increased in importance.
“I think they were a little less tentative in the first half, and they were winning the 50-50 balls early on,” Verkuilen said. “We knew it was a brand-new game at halftime, and I told them to get after it more.”
Soldotna hosts Houston on Friday at 3:30 p.m., and Kenai will host Wasilla at 4 p.m.