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CIA soccer play at Aurora Borealis Conference tourney

Posted: October 12, 2013 - 10:12pm

The Cook Inlet Academy coed soccer team finished off a 21-0 season by winning the Borealis Conference tournament Saturday in Delta Junction with a 3-2 win over Delta.

It is the third-straight conference and state title for the Eagles, but the first time they finished their season undefeated.

CIA coach Kenny Leaf expected to get a battle from Delta, and he was not disappointed.

“It was quite a battle,” Leaf said. “It was something else.

“There was no snow, but it was pretty windy and Delta came to play.”

Connor Leaf swung in a corner kick in the fourth minute to give CIA the lead.

“Then, their goalkeeper was putting on a clinic,” Leaf said. “He was just saving everything that got thrown at him. He was having the game of his life.”

In the 20th minute, Connor Leaf found Timmy Smithwick for a header and a 2-0 lead, but Delta cut the lead to 2-1 in the 27th minute on a penalty kick.

In the second half, CIA had to go into the sun and wind. Delta took advantage in the 54th minute, tying the game on a free kick.

“It was very tense and very physical,” coach Leaf said. “The referee did a good job keeping things under control.”

Smithwick finally broke free of the tight marking that had been hounding him all day for a game-winner in the 60th minute.

On Friday, the Eagles worked their way into the conference title game with a 6-2 victory over Tri-Valley. The ground was frozen and the temperature was 30 degrees, making for a tough day of handling the ball for the goalies.

Smithwick got the Eagles off to a quick start with goals in the sixth and 17th minutes. But in the 27th minute, Tri-Valley scored on a breakaway against Noah Nelson for the first goal CIA had allowed in six games. In the 36th minute, Nicole Moffis hit the crossbar for CIA, just as Connor Leaf had done in the second minute, but the score went to half at 2-1.

Just six minutes into the second half, Smithwick completed his hat trick, but the Warriors came back just three minutes later to cut that gap to 3-2.

Smithwick refused to be caught in the scoring column, though, heading in a corner kick from Connor Leaf in the 50th minute. The Eagles iced the game on goals from Connor Leaf, on an assist from Andrew Hammond, and Noah Leaf.

Connor Leaf was named the tournament MVP, while Madison Orth, Nicole Moffis and Smithwick landed on the all-tournament team.

All-academic honors went to Orth, Emma Lyons, Kendra Brush and Adam Uchtman.

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