The Nikiski High School boys soccer team opened its season with a 1-0 Northern Lights Conference win over Grace Christian at Anchorage Football Stadium Saturday.
Also Saturday, the Nikiski girls dropped a 2-1 decision to the Grizzlies.
Lance Penhale scored the lone goal of the game for the Bulldogs, assisted by Israel Blatchford, midway through the first half.
Nikiski coach Jim Coburn credited his defense of Ben Kellie, Zack McIrvin, Jordan McCaughey and Joe Keith with a solid game, helping goalkeeper Rick Miller finish with a clean sheet despite several good scoring bids by the Grizzlies.
Coburn also liked the play of midfielders Travis McGahan, Travis McCaughey, Jared Mazurek and Robert Doty.
"It's real good to start off with a win," Coburn said.
Nikiski girls coach Richard Kelso was pleased with the way his team performed despite the loss.
Clare Bennett tallied for Nikiski, putting the Bulldogs up 1-0.
Kelso said his squad did well to hang on after that, crediting Sarah Herrin with a solid game in goal.
"We just made it hard for them. We didn't get too many opportunities, but the girls were just happy to get on solid ground," Kelso said.
Kelso said Whitney Hitchcock played well in the midfield along with Racheal Gerke, while Krystal Gladden played well defensively. Freshman Whitney Doty also played well, entering the match as a reserve.
The Bulldogs next face Soldotna in a NLC-South game Tuesday.
The match has tentatively been moved to Nikiski as Soldotna's fields are just a little soggy.
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