Senior Bailey Buchholz netted four goals in helping the Nikiski Bulldogs to a 6-0 shutout win over the Houston Hawks in Nikiski on Friday afternoon.
Buchholz didn't even start the game on field, as she and two other players were late, and according to Nikiski coach Mandy Adair, it made a difference.
"It was definitely a big pickup when they were put in," Adair said.
Along with senior Taylor Calderwood and junior goalkeeper Katie Costello, Buchholz's presence was immediately felt.
After 30 minutes of back-and-forth play, sophomore Katy TumSuden put Nikiski on the board first when she took advantage of a fumble from the Houston goalie.
One minute later, Buchholz began her attack, scoring to put the 'Dogs up 2-0, and sent home another strike with a wide open run down the middle of the field at the 35th minute.
Three minutes after that, Buchholz completed her hat trick with another clear run down the field and easily putting the ball past the keeper. All this happened barely 10 minutes after Adair put her in the game.
TumSuden scored her second goal amid a frantic scramble in front of the net in the 51st minute, and Buchholz notched her fourth with a long kick in the 72nd minute.
Adair said she was also pleased with play of Calderwood, who, along with Rebekah Krogseng and Rachel Thompson, created many late opportunities to extend the lead late in the game. Nikiski had 14 shots on goal, compared to seven from Houston, most of those coming on Thompson, who was relieved of goal-keeping duties from Costello halfway through the second half.
"I moved Taylor up to center-mid because she was able to get some of the through-balls that we were having trouble with," Adair said. "She was really good today at finding those through-balls on the outside and creating those crosses."
Nikiski has beaten Houston twice this season and now holds a 2-4 record, and will play Wasilla on Saturday.
Nikiski boys 6, Houston 1
The Nikiski boys came out with all the firepower the girls had, as sophomore Christian Riddall scored a hat trick to lead the team.
Riddall got the scoring going early, not even waiting for the first 60 seconds to expire before scoring on a rebound off the left post.
"They came out early and had fun and we got our swingers in, some of the freshmen got playing time," Nikiski coach Jim Coburn said. "Everybody played a different position today. We had a very physical game yesterday against Homer and we have to go up against Wasilla tomorrow, which is very physical too."
After Morgan Sauve added a goal in the 10th minute, Riddall scored again in the 15th to put Nikiski up 3-0, and completed his hat trick three minutes into the second half.
"We've been giving him a variety of positions, and if we're stronger in the midfield then we'll use him as a striker and so...he is a very good player for us," Coburn said.
Nathan Carstens and Josh Croze scored goals in the 46th and 52nd minutes to put Nikiski up by six, but Houston's Calen Wilbur ended the shutout in the 57th.
Nikiski goalkeeper Sullivan Jackson manned the net in place of senior Lincoln Johnson, who was traveling with the Nikiski track team to the boroughs meet in Homer. Jackson had five saves, compared to 20 for Houston's goalkeeper.
Johnson will also be missing the Bulldogs' game with Wasilla on Saturday.
"(Jackson is) going to get thrown in the fire tomorrow," Coburn said. "I think he'll do okay."
Nikiski stands with a 3-3 overall record.