Soldotna striker Blaine Carver was a force to be reckoned with in high school, and he certainly hasn’t stopped during his years at Seattle Pacific University.
The only thing that could stop him is time, and it has, finally bringing an end to a collegiate soccer career that is one of the most successful among homegrown Alaskans.
Carver’s soccer days came to an end — at least temporarily — on Nov. 14, when his Division II Falcons lost a 1-0 game to Chico State in the NCAA Division II soccer tournament.
In his four years at SPU, the Soldotna High School grad amassed 21 career goals, which rank him eighth on the SPU all-time scoring list. It also ranks him 21st on the Great Northwest Athletic Conference all-time list.
“I really had no clue coming into college,” Carver said about his run of success and early expectations. “It’s so hard to gauge the level of skill down in the states. In high school, my goal was to play in college, and I wasn’t sure what level, but my junior and senior year, I thought I was definitely able to get a scholarship.”
Earlier this year, Carver’s leadership was put on display when he was named co-captain for the team, along with another one of the seniors.
“As a whole, being a captain was special,” Carver said. “It wasn’t really a surprise because throughout the year, I’d taken a bigger leadership role and organizing events.
“There were three seniors and we knew one or two of us would be captains. It’s something that I wanted because it’s important to me.”
In addition to his overall stats, his seven game-winning goals rank him 15th in GNAC history. He also ranks ninth in conference history with a .191 scoring percentage.
Heading into the match with Chico State, which ultimately became his final game, SPU carried a 12-4-3 season record, and was one of six teams holding a tournament spot. The two squads matched each other with 15 shots apiece, but one goal made the difference in the end.
“It was kind of mixed emotions, heading into that game,” Carver said. “We were really excited, because you know you have a one in five chance of being national champions. Me and the other seniors were talking about how this could potentially be our last game ever.
“At that point, you do all you can to extend it, and you’re just hoping to do just that.”
Perhaps the end of the soccer season is a good thing for Carver, since he is preparing to graduate in less than three weeks with a degree in business administration, and currently holds a 4.07 GPA.
After that, the 5-foot-10 forward said he plans to take a mission trip to Africa, and for the time being does not foresee delving further into his soccer career. He also mentioned that he would like to get back up to Soldotna soon.
“I’d definitely like to come back next summer,” he said. “I definitely enjoyed all four years here, and everything I hoped for coming into it.”