Wasilla managed to take a 2-1 lead on a penalty kick in the 70th minute that they never let go of to win the Northern Lights Conference championship game against Homer on Saturday at Skyview.
When the ball glanced off of Homer player Andre Lovett’s arm while he was in the goal box with 10 minutes to go, officials called for a penalty kick for Wasilla. Kyler Perry stepped up to take the shot, and broke a 1-1 tie with the Mariners.
“I didn’t see what happened, but obviously one of my players is upset about it, because it glanced off his arm,” Homer coach Warren Waldorf said. “But it was a good game, and I guess the better team won today.”
In a physical match that saw three yellow cards against Wasilla players in the first half, Homer scored first in the 25th minute.
Lewis Koplin was able to take advantage of a long shot from the other end of the field to take a diagonal shot past Wasilla’s goalkeeper and bounce the ball off the right post and in the net.
However, Wasilla answered back with a shot from Ethan Keenan six minutes later with an assist from Perry to knot the game.
“Homer is a great team, and we have a lot of respect for them,” Wasilla coach Blake Livingston said. “They’re a quality side, and it took everything we had to come out and compete with them. I’m just really proud of my team that we could come out victorious in a region final.”
Livingston was named boys coach of the year for the conference.
“As far as the PK, I think it was unlucky for Homer, but at the same time, you have to take advantage of opportunities in a match,” Livingston said. “Homer is a very resilient and talented side, so give them credit.”
Even with the loss, Homer will be traveling to Anchorage next weekend to compete in the state competition, along with Wasilla, and Waldorf said with the kind of effort his team brings, they will be a force.
“They didn’t blow us out, and we were in it,” he said. “I’m proud of my kids, and they gave an effort, and we had a couple of chances at the end there to get back.
“We’re still going to state. Nothing’s changed.”
Colony boys 3, Grace 0
With their high school careers dangerously close to coming to an end, Colony’s three seniors stepped up to make sure they wouldn’t be missing the state tournament for the first time as a Knight.
Senior John Meaney posted a pair of goals, senior Sean Colette scored and senior Ricky Kubacki recorded the shutout in the Colony net to lead the Knights to a win over Grace Christian in the third-place game of the Northern Lights Conference Championships at Skyview High in Soldotna Saturday.
“It was a do or die game for the seniors and they all really came through,” Colony head coach Jeremy Johnson said by cellphone from Soldotna after the game.
Meaney scored his first goal late in the first half for the Knights, who advanced to the state tournament for the fifth straight year with the win. The senior gave the Knights the 1-0 lead during the 39th minute, capping that a number of players helped set up.
“It was a beautiful play,” Johnson said.
It started with the goalkeeper, Kubacki, who rolled the ball to Lucas Hickle. Colette took a pass from Hickle and brought the ball up the wing. Colette knocked the ball back to forward Chris Olsen, who sent a ball 40 yards up the field. Meaney ran down the pass, settled the ball and blasted a shot into the net.
Colony added a pair of goals in the second half. Colette scored in the 69th minute, a play set up by a pass sent through by Harrison Menard. Meaney scored his second goal off a corner kick in the 75th minute.
Johnson said Chas Stevens, who tried to use a header to knock in the Meaney corner kick, missed the header, but did just enough to distract the Grace keeper.
The Knights were pushed into the third-place match after a 1-0 loss to rival Wasilla in the semifinals.
“It was a defensive battle,” Johnson said of the loss to the Warriors.
All-Conference boys team — 1. Robin Glosser, M, Homer; 2. Kyler Perry, M, Wasilla; 3. Sean Colette, M, Colony; 4. Kyle Wisner, M, Homer; 5. Travis Patterson, F, Wasilla; 6. Aube Strickland, M, Palmer; 7. Cory Carver, M, Soldotna; 8. Konstantin Reutov, F, Homer; 9. Daniel Fulmer, D, Grace; 10. Bryce Rodgers, G, Grace; 11. Jacob Spannegel, F, Colony; 12. Alex Springer, M, Kenai; 13. John Meaney, M, Colony; 14. Kyle Scarlett, D, Kenai; 15. Andre Lovett, D, Homer.
The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman contributed to this report.