A late surge of momentum was not enough to rally the Nikiski boys soccer team, as the Bulldogs lost 6-2 to the visiting Ketchikan Kings on Friday at Nikiski High School.
After dropping into a five-goal deficit, the Bulldogs finally began finding better possession of the ball and tallied two late goals from two junior varsity players — Logan Griffel and Dylan Broussard.
Ultimately, the minutes ran out and Nikiski settled for a loss, dropping its season mark to 3-3.
“They’re skilled and they’re a good team,” said Nikiski coach Jim Coburn said about Ketchikan. “It was just nice to get out and get a good game in to get some guys playing time.”
Overall, Coburn said five players that started the game were JV players.
“We started a lot of younger guys today, a lot of JV players, so we feel pretty good about it,” Coburn said.
Coburn said four games during the week took a lot out of the players, but he was pleased with the improvement that he saw.
Ketchikan staked out an early lead with a goal from Rudy Pankow in the sixth minute. Pankow received a left cross from teammate Frederick Bjergen and slotted it in behind Nikiski goalie Sullivan Jackson. Pankow led the Kings with a hat trick on Friday, adding goals in the 38th and 56th minutes as well.
Ketchikan’s Sylvan Blankenship scored in the 22nd minute on a cross from Josh Baxstrom and Bjergen scored in the 33rd on a cross from Pankow that resulted in a 4-0 lead for Ketchikan at halftime. Coach Lane Johnson said at that point he wasn’t too concerned about Nikiski rallying back.
“We had enough of a lead at that point,” Johnson said. “I was more concerned that we would start breaking down and not playing our game, because we have a game tomorrow, and we don’t want to end this game playing ugly.”
After Pankow completed his hat trick in the 56th minute, Johnson began subbing players in to ease up on his starters, and the Bulldogs began making runs at the Kings.
Nikiski scored its opening goal in the 59th minute when Griffel beat two Ketchikan defenders and found enough space in front of the net to score. In the 71st minute, the Bulldogs made good on a corner kick that Broussard managed to convert with a high header. Nico Castro took the kick.
However, any possible momentum Nikiski had was extinguished with two minutes left in regulation when Bjergen scored his second goal of the afternoon.
Ketchikan girls 2, Nikiski 0
The visiting Kings held control throughout much of the match Friday afternoon and posted a win over the Bulldogs.
Ketchikan’s Gabi Bonck and Angel Spurgeon scored in the 37th and 55th minutes, respectively. The win improved the Kings’ season record to 4-3-2, while the Bulldogs are still in search of their first win and dropped to 0-5-2.
“They’re always going to keep fighting, just to get that equalizer,” said Nikiski coach Mandy Adair. “We just gotta keep working on winning those through balls and being stronger on the ball and not getting pushed off. That’s the biggest thing.”
Adair switched goalkeepers midway through, as she’s done before, in favor of more attacking on the Nikiski front line. Rachel Thompson started in goal and faced 13 shots on target while giving up two goals, and Adair pulled her after the second Ketchikan score in the 55th minute to put in Brianna Vollertson. Vollerston faced four shots the rest of the game.
“I was just trying to create some offense,” Adair said. “What’s the difference if you lose 2-0? If we can create some offense and create opportunities, it’s a good momentum switch.”
Ketchikan coach Marissa Medford said she thought her team was tired, having played their third game in three days on the road.
“They’re a little fatigued,” Medford said. “Definitely tiredness was starting to kick in. When they get tired they try to shove it down the middle and we have some lapses, so I just try to have them keep it wide.”
The fatigue wasn’t so obvious to the crowd though. Ketchikan took 17 shots on goal while Nikiski tallied four, and the Kings took seven corner kicks to Nikiski’s zero.