The other day, Kenai Central soccer coach Dan Verkuilen challenged senior Jenna Calhoun to score a hat trick in their game against Nikiski, adding that if she did it, she would win his hat.
While she didn’t get it then, she made good on that offer and then some Wednesday against Skyview, running up four goals in the Kards’ 8-0 win over the Panthers.
“I was determined to get his hat,” Calhoun said after Wednesday’s game. “Multiple people have been saying they’ll give me certain things if I get a hat trick, so I have a friend buying me lunch and now I’ll have a hat. That was a motive for me, and once I got the second goal I wanted to keep going.”
Verkuilen substituted Calhoun out after her third goal, but later put her back in.
“She was working real hard and she said, ‘Does that still work today?’ and I said, ‘Yea!’”
Kenai improved its season record to 3-1-1 overall and 2-0 in the Northern Lights Conference Southern Division, while Skyview drops to 0-2 overall.
After a fairly even start to the game, Calhoun opened up the scoring with a quick assist from Allie Ostrander in the 35th minute to put the Kards up, and Ostrander extended the lead with a goal of her own one minute later.
“Our big deal today was to make sure we were putting the passes on the foot,” Verkuilen said. “For awhile there, we were getting kind of lazy, and we had opportunities. We would have the opening, and the runs were there but the ball would be behind two feet. Once they settled down and started squaring up with each other, you could see it starting to work.”
Twelve minutes into the second half, Paula Ulreich, Ericka Reynolds and Whitney Reynolds all got touches on the ball en route to Calhoun’s second goal.
Hannah Drury scored in the 58th minute to make it 4-0, and only a minute later, Calhoun completed her hat trick with a long shot that just slipped past Skyview goalie Dallas Derflinger’s hands.
“I think just passing, quick passing between the team, is what helps,” Calhoun said. “It’s not just one person, you have to build it up, starting with defense. Being there for the finish and reading the pass.”
Skyview coach David Carpenter said he was hoping to keep the game within reach and not let Kenai run up the score.
“Thirty minutes of decent soccer, and then it was like the wheels came off,” Carpenter said. “I just think we started pointing fingers at each other. This core of kids haven’t played with each other that much, so it’s really easy to start pointing fingers when something bad happens.”
Chelsea Springer heated up with two goals of her own in the 62nd and 66th minutes, the former being a penalty kick. A Skyview player was charged with a handball, and while Springer initially failed on the penalty kick, she knocked in the rebound.
With five minutes left in the game, Carpenter pulled Derflinger out of goal in favor of Nicole Tromblee. Derflinger saved 18 of 26 shots on goal, and Tromblee had six saves of her own.
Kenai boys 2, Skyview 0
The boys game was a little closer, as the Kards got goals from Josh McKee and Simon Sandino.
“It’s an important win,” said Kenai coach John Morton. “I think a lot of times we move the ball pretty well, a lot of quick passes and good possessions, and just passing the ball smart.
“We just need to work on our finishing. The shots are going right to the keeper instead of the corners, and Skyview has a good keeper, so it’s not too bad. Ideally they need game scenarios, and it’s getting easier now that we’re outside. Yesterday was our first outside practice.”
Skyview keeper Bailey Jones performed well in the net, saving 19 of 21 shots on goal, while Kenai’s Wren Norwood saved all four shots.
McKee was able to corral the loose ball in front of Skyview’s goal in the 10th minute and send it home to put Kenai up first, and it wouldn’t be until the 62nd minute that Kenai would score again, as Sandino received the ball off a throw-in and scored.
“I felt the effort was pretty good, we’re improving drastically with every game,” Skyview coach Brandon Goggia said. “It gives us a lot of hope. Obviously we’re looking for a win, and I think we can still pull it off, from what I hear the other teams are still in reach. It sucks but it’s not that big of a deal.”
Soldotna girls 12, Seward 0
The host Stars cruised past the Seahawks to improve to 3-0-1 and 2-0 in the Northern Lights Conference Southern Division.
The Stars scored seven times in the first half — Julie Litchfield scored on assists from Kylee Wolfe and Juliet Bramante; Taryn McCubbins scored on a corner from Litchfield; Skylar Shaw scored on assists from Kylee Wolfe and Litchfield on a corner; Miranda Wolfe scored on an assist from Kylee Wolfe; Shae VanMeter scored on assists from Shaw and McCubbins; Miranda Wolfe scored on assists from Kelci Benson and Bailey Rosin; and Alex Ashe scored on assists from McCubbins and Rosin.
After keeping a clean sheet in the first half, Katelynn Kerkvliet moved out into the field for the second half, while Miranda Wolfe moved into goal. Kerkvliet then had a role in the first three goals of the half. She assisted a McCubbins’ goal, then scored two straight — on assists from Shaw and Litchfield. The last two goals were Reagan Schoessler assisted by Benson, and Olivia Conradi assisted by Benson.
Soldotna coach Jimmy Love gave Seward a ton of credit for continuing to play hard throughout the game.
“The girls kept their heads up the entire game and had smiles on their faces,” Love said. “That’s what the game is about there. We managed to keep working on our goals, and the other team was still able to enjoy their time out there.”
Soldotna hosts Ketchikan at 3:30 p.m. Friday.