With their fields still covered in snow, the Kenai Central girls and boys soccer teams escaped the gym Thursday for the turf field of Anchorage Football Stadium.
The girls registered a 1-all tie against Grace Christian, while the boys fell 3-0 to the Grizzlies.
Kenai girls coach Dan Verkuilen said the drive to Anchorage was a little concerning, because of some light snow going through Turnagain Pass.
“I thought, ‘Uh oh. Here we go,’” Verkuilen said.
In Anchorage, the teams received a sunny day in the 40s with no wind, though.
Verkuilen said it was the first time out of the gym for his team and for Grace.
“Everybody was a little rusty, especially on the longer runs and longer kicks,” he said. “It’s hard training in a gym and simulating running on a big field.”
With 15 minutes gone in the second half, senior captain Keeley Boyle broke a scoreless tie when she received a through ball from junior Taylor Brewer and parked an 18-yard shot in the corner of the goal.
Because the game had no bearing on the race to get into the conference tournament, Verkuilen said he wanted to get a look at all 19 girls he took on the trip. He started doing a lot of substitution after Boyle’s goal and he said that probably contributed to Grace getting the equalizer.
The coach said Kenai put some nice pressure on the Grace net in the final 10 minutes but could not find the game winner.
Verkuilen said senior captains Brewer, Hayley Mishler and Sam Calderwood all had good games. The coach also said seniors Jamie Peterson and Sammie Johnson had solid games.
Verkuilen said he started four freshmen in the game and that all of them played well. He said having all that senior experience on the field was important because of the number of freshmen in the starting lineup.
“The seniors kept it together and communicated positively,” Verkuilen said. “It was a neat start to the season.”
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