The Cook Inlet Academy soccer team went on a road trip to the Interior on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, winning all three games to move their record to 13-0 on the season.
The trip started in Delta on Thursday, with a tense, 4-3 victory over the Huskies.
CIA had defeated Delta 4-1 and 5-1 early in the season, and the Eagles quickly took control of the game.
Just three minutes in, Connor Leaf played the ball across the face of the goal, where CIA’s Timmy Smithwick and Delta’s goalkeeper collided. Madison Orth pounced on the ball for a goal. Just moments later, Riley Smithwick scored for CIA.
However, Delta fought back, with Brandon Schmidt converting a penalty kick in the 20th minute and CIA then scoring an own goal to tie the game.
Just before halftime, Timmy Smithwick was cautioned for a hard tackle, but a Delta player pushed Smithwick after the play and was ejected.
In the second half, CIA took advantage of the man advantage. Andrew Hammond scored, then Hammond assisted on a goal by Leaf.
Delta was able to narrow the score to 4-3 in the 68th minute, but goalie Brady Hammond kept a clean sheet the rest of the way.
Friday, the Eagles notched a 5-3 win over Tri-Valley on a snowy field in Healy. Andrew Hammond had two goals, while Connor Leaf, Noah Leaf and Timmy Smithwick also had goals. Brady Hammond had the win in goal.
Saturday, the Eagles notched a 7-2 win against Nenana.
CIA had two previous victories over the Lynx this season, but Nenana came into the game feeling good after recent victories over Tri-Valley and Wasilla Lake Christian.
Nenana rode that good feeling to an early 1-0 lead on a ball that slipped past keeper Brady Hammond.
“The grass was frosty, so the ball just skipped. He hit it hard, for sure,” Hammond said in a statement released by the team.
CIA quickly responded. Timmy Smithwick scored three goals in the next 10 minutes, then shortly after that Smithwick assisted on a goal by Madison Orth.
“It was nice to see Timmy hit his stride again,” CIA coach Kenny Leaf said in an email. “The Delta game took a toll on him, but he was all there again today.”
Ashleigh Hammond notched a goal late in the first half for a 5-1 lead.
Coach Leaf said a bunch of Eagles saw playing time in the second half, and Caleb Lyons, Emma Lyons and Seth Davey took advantage. Andrew Hammond and Orth had second-half goals.
The road trip continued a string of solid play for the Eagles. CIA won the Tri-Valley Tournament in Healy on Sept. 6 and 7, topping Lumen Christi 12-0, Delta 3-1 and Tri-Valley 5-0.
The next weekend, CIA got road victories over Birchwood (7-0), Lumen Christi (8-0), Wasilla Lake Christian (6-0) and Holy Rosary Academy (5-0).
Cook Inlet hosts the Association of Christian Schools Soccer Tournament at the Kenai Soccer Complex from Thursday to Saturday. The Academy then wraps up its season in Delta with the Borealis Conference Tournament on Oct. 11 and 12.