The Homer boys won their first-round matchup against Palmer 4-0 to make it to the second round in the Northern Lights Conference tournament for the first time in five years.
The win also is the first Thursday win for a peninsula team in the tourney since 2009.
“This is the first loser-out game we’ve won in five years,” Homer coach Warren Waldorf said. “We won our first-round game five years ago and none since. Just a great feeling all around.”
Lennart Von Schlichting opened the scoring for the Mariners in the 16th minute with an assist from Robin Glosser, and Konstantin Reutov made it 2-0 two minutes later, with a strong drive toward the net to beat two defenders and knock the ball in. He had an assist from Von Schlichting.
“We had Konstantin running up front with Kyle (Wisner) right underneath and Robin there too and Mario (Glosser) on the left, so it was very effective,” Homer coach Warren Waldorf said.
With a 2-0 lead at halftime, any player can expect a second-half surge from the trailing team, but Homer was able to stifle anything Palmer had.
“We had 10 starters coming in today at six in the morning, and that hurts, but no excuses,” Palmer coach Kevin Dearborn said. “Homer is a great team, and they should go far. They played us tight, really tough, and the prior two games were 0-0 and 1-0 they beat us.”
Homer received two more goals in the second half, a second score from Reutov in the 48th minute, and a header from Robin Glosser in the 52nd minute.
“I think a lot of it was tiredness, but take nothing away from it, they are a great team,” Dearborn said. “The energy level wasn’t there, and Homer was hungry this year.
“We beat them last year in this way, and they have a lot of seniors, and so they know this is their year.”
Homer is set to face up against Grace Christian on Friday at 11 a.m., and Waldorf has no plan for Grace except to keep doing what that team has been doing all year long.
“I have no idea, we haven’t played them in three years, so we’ll just put our guys out there and go with it,” Waldorf said.
Wasilla boys 4, Soldotna 1
The Warriors held off a hungry Soldotna team to win in a scrappy match on Thursday in the Northern Lights Conference tournament at Skyview.
Oleg Lozko scored for Wasilla in the 29th minute off an assist from Kyler Perry, and the Warriors held that 1-0 lead at the half.
“I felt that the first half, we gained the momentum, and were able to outpossess Soldotna,” Wasilla coach Blake Livingston said. “Also, we were able to utilize our outside wings really well.”
Wasilla extended its lead six minutes into the second half with a goal by Kyler Perry, his first of the match.
However, Soldotna was able to claw its way back into contention in the 53rd minute when Swedish foreign exchange student Jonas Wikstrom was able to convert on a free kick and score a much-needed goal.
“That was our plan, trying to create momentum and power through, but they counterattacked and scored again which deflated us,” Soldotna coach Jeff Siemers said. “We needed to be finishing on the opportunities that we had, and we were getting some good momentum and some good chances, but we weren’t creating as well as we could have.”
That 2-1 score was as close as SoHi was going to get, however, as Wasilla scored in the 58th minute with a close shot from Cash McGregor that slipped by SoHi goalkeeper Dylan Smith.
McGregor scored once more in the 60th minute to essentially seal the game on a throw-in header.
“Give SoHi a lot of credit to battle back like that, it takes a lot to do that, but we were able to hold them off,” Livingston said. “It’s nice to see our guys come back and Cash get two great goals like that.
“We know regions is a tough road, and we have to stick together and make it happen.”
Siemers said the usual tricks that have kept Soldotna back in past games made an appearance in this game as well.
“It’s simple,” he said. “Pass, trap, pass to your own team and make the passes clean, and get it to our forwards who will score.”
The physical play of the game showed through in moments on field, as two yellow cards were displayed, but overall the play was clean.
“It’s kind of the nature, our rivalry,” Siemers said. “It shows up on the field, but it was a well-played and well-reffed game, so it was physical but not dirty.”
Wasilla will play Colony at Skyview on Friday at 3 p.m.
Colony boys 4, Nikiski 0
The Knights scored twice in the first half and twice in the second half to advance to the semifinals.
Jake Spannagel opened the scoring in the 10th minute, while John Meaney scored in the 26th.
In the second half, Austin Richardson scored on a penalty kick in the 49th minute, while Tanner Menard scored in the 77th minute.
“I think the boys played very well,” Nikiski coach Jim Coburn said. “Colony is a very skilled team. They have a lot of comp soccer players.”
Coburn said that his team is young, and losing three seniors. He said Nikiski played one of its best games Thursday and the Bulldogs can build on that for next year.
Grace boys 2, Kenai 1, OT
The Grace boys scored a few minutes from the end of the second 10-minute overtime period to edge the Kardinals.
Kenai coach John Morton said a Grace free kick turned into a scramble in the box and somehow the ball found its way into the net.
“It’s a game I can look back at, and I hope they do too, where we didn’t get the outcome we wanted, but we can hold our heads up,” Morton said. “The seniors were great leaders today.”
Grace took the lead 20 minutes into the game. Morton said Kenai dominated the second half, creating increasing chances.
The Kards finally scored with just a few minutes left in regulation, when Kyle Scarlett used his physical play to get into the box. That created an opportunity for TJ Wagoner, who scored.
Morton said the overtime was a little more equal, but he still feels like Kenai had more chances.
“I’m proud of the way my guys played,” Morton said. “They dug deep. They played 100 minutes of really good soccer today.”
Grace faces Homer in a semifinal at 11 a.m.