The Kenai Central boys soccer team defeated Soldotna 2-1 on Monday in Northern Lights Conference Southern Division action at Soldotna.
The Kards and Stars had played earlier in the year, with the Kards winning. Both coaches had originally thought that was the game that would count in Southern Division play, but Monday’s game turned out to be what counted.
As it turned out, it did not make a difference because the result was the same.
The Kenai boys finished at 2-1-1 in the division and 4-3-2 overall, while the Stars are the top seed at 3-1 and 4-5-1. SoHi opens play at the NLC tourney Thursday at the Kenai Soccer Complex by playing Palmer at 5 p.m., while the Kards face Wasilla at 3 p.m.
Other first-round boys matchups are Colony against Nikiski at 11 a.m. and Homer vs. Grace at 1 p.m.
Kenai jumped on the board in the 10th minute. TJ Wagoner was battling for the ball when a SoHi defender and keeper Kayne North ran into each other.
With the path cleared, Wagoner scored.
Just one minute before halftime, Soldotna’s Cory Carver tied the game with a penalty kick.
Kenai scored the game-winner with 10 minutes left in the game on a corner kick. Guglielmo Battistelli volleyed home the winning strike.
“It’s huge,” Kenai boys coach John Morton said of the win.
He said Matt Morse played well in the back, and Austin McKee was solid in the midfield.
“We’ll have reasonably good momentum going into the tournament,” Morton said.
Siemers said North was injured and did not finish the game, but he expects his keeper back for the Thursday game.
Soldotna girls 2, Kenai 0
The Stars topped the Kards by the same score they posted earlier in the year.
Soldotna finishes 10-0-1 overall and 5-0 in the Southern Division, earning the top seed.
The Stars open chase of their fourth-straight NLC crown Thursday, when they play Wasilla at 3 p.m. at the Kenai Soccer Complex.
Kenai is the No. 2 seed and faces Palmer at 5 p.m. In other action, Colony faces Nikiski at 11 a.m. and Homer faces Grace at 1 p.m.
Monday, SoHi’s goals came from Kylee Wolfe, on an assist from Miranda Wolfe, in the sixth minute, and Miranda, on an assist from Kylee, in the 16th minute.
“Both teams had some chances,” SoHi coach Jimmy Love said. “It was a tough night to find the back of the net.”
Katelynn Kerkvliet had the shutout for SoHi.
Homer girls 6, Seward 0
The visiting Mariners tossed a shutout to finish 3-2 in the Northern Lights Conference Southern Division and wrap up the No. 3 seed.
Seward finished 1-4.
Seward coach Tim Lebling said he lost a good chunk of his varsity team to disciplinary actions after a weekend party in Seward.
“Give credit to Homer, they made the trip here,” Lebling said after finishing 2-6 overall. “It was a good tuneup for them to get to regions.”
Lebling has coached soccer in Seward for 10 years, including the last five as the girls varsity coach. He will step down next year because he is moving to the East Coast.
“It was a great year for the program,” he said. “We’re only losing two seniors, and we had some middle schools come warm up with us, so we know there will be numbers for next year.”
Lebling said it has been great to watch soccer grow during his time in Seward.
“It’s also been great to coach against all the other Peninsula teams,” Lebling said. “We became a pretty tight-knit group.”