PALMER — The Colony Knights met the Soldotna Stars in a nonconference match for the first time Friday, and the Division II Stars gave the Division I Knights a scare.
SoHi freshman Josh Huber scored twice during the first 10 minutes, but the Colony boys rallied to earn a 4-3 win over its former Northern Lights Conference foe Friday at Colony High School. Huber finished with a hat trick.
Soldotna got its first win of 2018 Saturday with a 9-3 win over Palmer, putting its overall season mark at 1-3-0. Huber netted three goals for the second day in a row.
Colony senior Logan Curtis provided the game-winner for the Knights on Friday. Connor Friesen drove the ball down the left side, and cut back toward the goal line before making a pass to Curtis, who buried the go-ahead goal in the second half. The Curtis score came about five minutes after Huber completed his hat trick and tied the score at 3.
“We let Josh have four chances and he scored on three of them,” Colony coach Jeremy Johnson said of Huber via text Friday evening. “He’s a total stud.”
Noah Krozel, Cade Johnstone and Kyle Dearborn also scored for the Knights. With the Knights trailing 2-0, Krozel placed a shot in the lower right hand corner to cut Soldotna’s lead in half during the 15th minute. Johnstone tied the score at 2, sending a left-footed direct kick over the wall. Dearborn gave the Knights their first lead of the game, scoring on a play set up by a Johnstone through ball.
SoHi head coach Darryl Byerley said Huber’s early fireworks injected a spark into the Stars, but against powerhouse like Colony, it was only a matter of time before the Knights found their way.
“We’re very excited with that,” Byerley said about Huber. “He’s a talented young man at the striking position.”
Byerley said Chase Miller stood tall in goal for SoHi, and gave kudos to Shawn McMullen and Eli Sheridan for good games.
“I’m happy with the growth I saw,” he said. “We’ve just got to put it back to back and do it consistently.”
Saturday in Palmer, Huber’s hat trick highlighted the day. SoHi also got two goals apiece from Gavin Goggia and Luke Trammell, while Eli Sheridan and C.J. Johnson each scored.
A 5-1 lead at the half was enough for SoHi to cruise to the victory.
“We were able to maintain form and were striking well,” Byerley said. “We had a good percentage of shots on frame and were making their goalkeeper work, and following our shots well.”
Colony girls 4, Soldotna 0
Gabby Wakaliuk scored twice to lead Colony to a shutout win over the Stars. Bella Brown sparked the Knights early, conveting a penalty kick. Lydia Bushey also scored for the Knights. Maddy Zmuda recorded the shutout in the Colony net.
Colony and Soldotna were conference rivals prior to ASAA’s reclassification of soccer during the offseason.
SoHi head coach Jimmy Love said the Stars were able to recover from a slow start and play equally with the Knights, but the damage had already been done.
“They’re much quicker, and I thought we came out flat,” Love said. “They scored three goals fairly quick. We got down after the first half, and if you don’t regroup, that’ll happen again.”
Soldotna girls 3, Palmer 0
In Saturday’s Division II clash with the Moose, the Stars found more success in picking up their first win of the year.
Journey Miller scored two goals and Pauline Catacutan opened the scoring for SoHi.
Catacutan put the Stars up 1-0 with an assist from Haley Buckbee in the 17th minute, and Miller added a second goal in the 29th minute with help from Katie Delker. Miller scored again about 13 minutes into the second half on an Ella Stenga assist.
Senior Maddie Kindred earned the shutout in goal.
“We definitely played better,” Love said. “We possessed the ball, had better communication from front to back, and the passing was a little more on.
“I expect to be moving up from this point on.”
The SoHi girls are 1-1-1 overall this year, fifth time outside and third game.
The Stars open their home schedule Tuesday against Kenai.
Kenai boys 3, Colony 2
It’s no longer a conference meeting, but Friday’s game pitting the Kenai and Colony boys did not lack in intensity.
After beating Colony in the previous two Northern Lights Conference championship games, the Kenai boys ousted their northern rivals yet again with a Friday win in Palmer.
“Emotionally it was huge,” said Kenai head coach Joel Reemstma. “Knowing it wasn’t a division game, we were torn between resting our guys or knowing how hard to push, but we just couldn’t back down from a region championship rematch.”
Colony led 2-1 at halftime, but the Kardinals rallied back in the second half. Kenai freshman James Baisden tied the game on a long throw-in from Zack Tuttle, then senior Riley McKee put Kenai ahead for good with a deflected shot off a Colony defender.
The Kards had to sweat out the final 20 minutes before securing the win, which left them 2-1 overall this year.
“We came out and really started the second half on fire,” Reemstma said. “I was really proud of the guys for maintaining composure.”
Kenai opened the scoring about 15 minutes in with a long ball from Rykker Riddall on a free kick, which Tuttle headed to Damien Redder for the goal.
Colony answered with a header to tie it up, then took the lead on a free kick that went in on a header.
Kenai sophomore Braden Pitsch got the win in goal.
Kenai boys 7, Palmer 2
Friday, the Kardinals got their first win of the year, defeating Palmer.
Tuttle scored twice for Kenai, while Braden Goodman, freshman Leif Lofquist, Damien Redder, Kevin Ramos and Rykker Riddall all scored as well. Ramos notched his goal on a penalty kick, and Riddall managed to slide in a free kick strike.
Tuttle opened the scoring in the first minute of the game on a Ramos assist, and the Kards never looked back en route to a 5-1 halftime lead.
Kenai will travel to Soldotna on Tuesday, before heading on a three-game road trip next weekend to play Juneau, Thunder Mountain and Ketchikan.
Kenai girls 0, Palmer 0
Kenai Central played to a scoreless tie with host Palmer on Friday. Shaleen Tolbert earned the shutout for the second straight night, while Kailey Hamilton earned the blank sheet for Kenai.
Colony girls 5, Kenai 0
The Kardinals were shut out by the Knights in nonconference action Saturday.