The Kenai Central boys dropped a game to Colony 2-1 on Friday afternoon at Kenai.
The Kards now sport a 3-5-1 overall record.
“Our defense played hard in the second half, Keegan (Remsen) played a great game back there,” Kenai coach John Morton said. “We moved the ball really well, but they’re a tough team, and going into regions next week, we’re making improvements every game.”
Colony scored first with a header from freshman Harrison Menard in the 21st minute, and a goal late in the first half from sophomore Chris Olsen put the Knights up 2-0 at halftime.
“It was a pretty physical game, the referee let us play, and it’s not like it was a dirty, blatant-foul type of game, but they let us body up and play aggressive soccer,” Colony coach Jeremy Johnson said.
Kenai came out charging in the second half, however, aided partly by a wind that they were previously facing in the first half.
Three minutes into the second half, Nate Narlock was able to boot the ball in from long range and put the Kards on the scoresheet.
Despite Narlock’s goal, that was all Kenai was able to muster, and the whistle blew to signal defeat.
Even with the loss, Kenai will be playing in the conference tournament starting next week.
“Every time you see a team, you’re picking up on who their key players are, and just thinking about what you can do different,” Morton said. “The big thing we’re learning is just how to work better as a team.”
Colony holds a 10-3 overall record.
“We’re just trying to keep everybody healthy and we still have two matches before regions, so that’s all we’re doing,” Johnson said.
Kenai will play Palmer at home Saturday at noon.
Kenai girls 0, Colony 0
The Kardinals and the Knights played to a draw in an intense match that saw Kenai mostly control the pace.
Kenai was able to find the ball often and had more shots on goal than Colony did, but never found the net.
“It was frustrating in the fact that we spent the last two days shooting, and taking shots, and we had great opportunities but we weren’t getting good kicks,” Kenai coach Dan Verkuilen said. “Their goalie did a nice job of keeping the ball in front of her, but I think she was a goalie that we could have scored on.”
Colony coach Lorie Miner was just glad to move on without a loss.
“Considering that our starting goalie is at home and that our starting forward is at home, and we got a bunch of injured and sick players, it’s good to come out with a tie,” Miner said.
Verkuilen said it’s disappointing to not score a win with the number of opportunities Kenai had, which included three times that the ball hit the crossbar and posts.
“You want the kids rewarded for good work, and they did everything they had to,” Verkuilen said. “It sucks, because if we do this at regions, we’ll be going to penalty kicks with a team that probably shouldn’t even be there, and anything can happen.”
Jenna Calhoun led the offensive attack more often than not, with support from Taylor and Allie Ostrander, who both described Colony as a scrappy team.
“They go hard to the ball,” Taylor said. “Their defense plays up to the midfield, so they’ll just kick it out and stay aggressive, and their defense boots it out of the box which makes it frustrating sometimes.”
“It’s very direct play,” Allie said. “They’re always going forward, they’re barely ever looking back, and if they do go back, it’s just to get a big kick forward.”
Verkuilen said the team is looking forward to playing strong in the conference tournament, and this game certainly helped them improve.
“When you play them here, it’s nice because you don’t know them, and it’s always physical, but the bottom line is they don’t allow a lot of goals,” he said. “It’s better than last year, when we played two weaker teams, and they got kind of complacent.
“Games like today keeps the girls on edge, and that’s where we need to be.”
Colony currently has a 4-3-3 overall record, while Kenai has a 5-2-2 overall record. Kenai will host the Palmer Moose Saturday at 10 a.m.
Kenai girls 1, Palmer 0
The Kardinals controlled the pace of a game against the Moose and earned the win Saturday at Kenai.
Junior Ericka Reynolds was able to get a touch off a corner kick at the 30th minute and the ball bounced off a Palmer defender to score the lone goal, according to Kenai coach Dan Verkuilen.
“It was good to get that goal, but we had a lot more chances than that,” Verkuilen said. “It was a lot like the Colony game (on Friday) in the fact that we really controlled the pace for the most part.”
The only difference was that Kenai managed to score, unlike the 0-0 draw they produced against the Knights on Friday.
The season-ending game leaves Kenai with a 6-2-2 record heading into the conference tournament next weekend.
“We just need to keep working on getting goals,” Verkuilen said. “It’s a matter of repetition and instinct. We’re getting a lot of good chances, but when it comes to the point of impact, they need to focus on knocking the ball in.”
Kenai boys 3, Palmer 0
The Kenai boys exploded offensively in the second half of their match against Palmer on Saturday at Kenai.
Described as a tight game in the first half by Kenai coach John Morton, TJ Wagoner put the Kards on the scoresheet with a goal two minutes into the second half. Wagoner scored again in the 55th minute, beating a Palmer defender and the goalkeeper.
“We were playing a pretty good game, and were able to just capitalize on misplayed balls,” Morton said.
Alex Springer knocked the ball in at the 75th minute to ice the game late.
Morton said Springer’s choice to begin the game facing the win turned out to be a good call.
“At the initial coin toss, (Springer) picked to defend, rather than start on offense and it turned out good,” Morton said. “We got those three goals going with the wind.”
Kenai ends its regular season with a 4-5-1 record, and now awaits the conference tournament.