The Soldotna girls opened their Northern Lights Conference soccer tournament with a dominant 5-1 win over Palmer on Thursday at Skyview.
The Stars opened the scoring early, as Kylee Wolfe knocked the ball in the net with a cross pass from Julie Litchfield. Taryn McCubbins added a goal, along with a second score from Wolfe to put Soldotna up 3-0 at halftime.
“We still had some trouble finishing, just the little things,” Soldotna coach Jimmy Love said. “Other than that, they were playing well, taking opportunities when they can, and that’s what we’ve been talking about.”
However, Palmer attacked in the second half, and quickly scored its first goal in the 48th minute, as Kendall Howe was able to convert an assist from Miracle Burton into a goal.
“I was more upset (than worried) at that point, because we just finished a really good first half, and we came out flat, and my last instructions before we broke apart were we are up 3-0, and they can make a comeback and score three goals like we did,” Love said. “We had to rechannel that whole thing and get that feeling back that we’re in control, and even after Palmer scored, they had a couple minutes where they could have gotten another one, and then it changed into a whole different thing.”
That was as close as the Moose would get, though, as Julie Litchfield answered back with a goal in the 56th minute, and Miranda Wolfe scored in the final minute of the game to seal the victory.
“This is what we wanted to get into,” Love said. “As I’ve said up to this point, we want to come into regions on a good note, and that last regular season game against Colony was a great game to end the season on, but once you’re season is over with, this is a whole new season.”
Palmer coach Harmony Chadwick did not make excuses, although she had plenty of reason to, as many of the Palmer girls were either sick or involved with Palmer’s graduation ceremony on Wednesday night.
“Our first half, we didn’t play like we normally do, so with all the things stacked against us, we dug a hole, and it was hard to get out of it,” Chadwick said. “Halftime, I told them if they want to play and get after it, do it, and if they want to hang their heads, there are other people waiting.”
Soldotna has moved on in the tournament to play Wasilla on Friday at Skyview, starting at 1 p.m.
Grace Christian girls 2, Skyview 0
The Grizzlies notched a first round shutout victory against Skyview on Thursday at Skyview.
This victory marked the first time for Grace that both boys and girls soccer teams made it past the first round in the conference tournament.
“It feels good, both teams are putting in a lot of work, and it feels good to achieve this level of accomplishment,” Grace coach Chris Seidl said.
Grace scored one goal early and one goal late in the win, with the first coming from Shannon McNamara in the fifth minute, and the second coming from Maria McLaughlin in the 58th minute.
“We came out and played our style of game, and controlled it,” Seidl said. “Our two goals, we worked hard to get, but it’s a ‘W’ for us, so I’m OK with the way we played.”
Skyview was able to disrupt the midfield play of Grace during the game, but only managed to get a few shots on goal off, none of them making it into the net.
“We definitely wanted to pull the upset and put a body on people and we did a good job and so it’s frustrating that way, we had our looks and we didn’t finish, which is something we needed to work on,” Skyview coach David Carpenter said. “But we didn’t come in as the fourth seed and roll over either.
“(Goalkeeper) Dallas Derflinger was able to get the ones that were torched at her.”
Grace will continue on to the second round against Kenai on Friday at 5 p.m. at Skyview.
Kenai girls 2, Colony 1, OT
The Kards escaped the first round of the tournament with a close overtime victory over the Knights on Thursday at Skyview.
Colony scored early in the first half, and led 1-0 at halftime.
“We had a penalty kick in the first half, near the end, that missed,” Kenai coach Dan Verkuilen said. “Allie Ostrander had another girl foul her, but missed it.”
Jenna Calhoun finally was able to notch a goal for Kenai, knocking in the ball at about the 70th minute to tie the game up.
In the overtime play, two 10-minute periods, Ericka Reynolds scored the game winner with approximately two minutes left.
“In the second half and overtime periods, Colony probably had possession 70 percent of the time,” Verkuilen said. “But these girls never give up, and it’s good to get the win.”
Kenai’s Lauren Schams suffered an arm injury after a rough play, and will be a game-time decision on Friday.
Kenai will play in the second round against Grace on Friday at 5 p.m. at Skyview.
Wasilla girls 3, Nikiski 0
The Warriors scored in the first couple minutes at Soldotna and used that to avenge a loss earlier this season to the Bulldogs.
“We were never able to get momentum,” Nikiski coach Mandy Adair said. “We were never able to set the tempo and get rolling.”
Nikki Vanni scored in the third minute for Wasilla, while Josie Fletcher had goals in the 30th and 39th minutes. Crystal Branson had the shutout.
Adair said Nikiski’s home field is bigger than Soldotna’s. Adair said her team uses its speed at home to run into open areas, but it was not able to do that on Soldotna’s more compact field.
“They have good ballhandlers,” Adair said of the Warriors. “That have some quick, good passing and they were able to work the ball through us.”
Adair said the second half got to be pretty physical, with a lot of fouls called.
“It was not what I wanted the game to look like,” she said.
Adair said Rachel Thompson was solid in net. She said young players Katie Costello and Laura Hufford played well off the bench.
“I think we could have put together a stronger game than we did,” Adair said. “It gave a lot of experience to the younger players. They know the pressure of the region tournament. They know if you lose the first game you are done.
“We look forward on building on this loss, using it as fuel for next year.”