Skyview's Brad Mallette controls the ball in front of Homer's Peter Walsworth Thursday night at Skyview.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
During a recent practice, Homer coach Mickey Todd used senior Claire Siekaniec to demonstrate how to properly strike a long ball.
Just in case some of her teammates didn’t catch on then, the reigning Northern Lights Conference Player of the Year hosted another clinic on Thursday.
Squandering a few early opportunities, Siekaniec took advantage of an indirect kick in the 33rd minute, scoring from roughly 25 yards out and later added another perfectly struck blast from at least 30 yards out in leading the Mariners to a 4-0 victory over Skyview on a relatively dry field at Skyview High School.
“She’s just so talented,” Todd said. “The other day we were standing around at practice, so I go, ‘Who taught you how to strike the ball?’ And she said, ‘It just came natural to me.’
“She can score from 50 yards pretty easy.”
Her first shot sailed into the far corner, staking Homer to a 1-0 entering the half, and she capped the Mariners’ scoring in the 55th minute when she picked up a loose ball well beyond the 18-yard line and sent it flying over the defense and eventually over the Skyview keeper’s head.
“I just practice it a lot and just practice my shots a lot. That’s just what I work on a lot,” she said. “I looked up and I saw no one in front of me and so I was like, ‘I’ll just take a shot and see what happens.’”
Panthers coach Ronnie Kier said Siekaniec burned them from about 35 yards last season.
“That was probably the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen,” he said, adding she was their defense’s No. 1 priority. “Our game plan actually coming in was just to mark her the entire game, just to have one girl, that no matter where she went, to be in her pocket. We got unfortunate with that.
“You can’t stop her. You can hope you can contain her a little bit,” Kier added. “There’s no way you’re going to shut down a player like that.”
With a 1-0 lead at halftime, Homer (3-1-1) opened the second half like a team playing its fourth game, as opposed to its first, which, unfortunately, was the case for Skyview.
In the 45th minute, junior Hannah Andrews calmly fielded a rebound and slid it past the keeper and five minutes later, senior Rachel Bornheimer fed junior Emily Kizzia, who beat one girl inside the box and sent the ball flying into the upper netting.
“It was about time that we started putting some pressure on them,” Todd said. “We came to play (Thursday).”
Kier said Homer’s experience was a major factor.
“And we’ve got a lot of girls out here, it’s their first year playing soccer, very first game first game being on a field against other people besides our own girls, and you can definitely tell that they’ve played games,” he explained. “They looked good out there (Thursday). I think we’ll be in the same boat once we get a few games under our belt.”
Skyview boys 4, Homer 0
Senior Jake Bauer recorded a hat trick and fellow classmate Tanner Hansen stopped 14 shots in leading Skyview to an impressive victory in its first game of the season.
“Really impressed. The kids picked it up real well. The senior guys definitely led it,” Panthers coach David Carpenter said. “We’re so low (on numbers), the JV guys came in and they just filled in the spots, gave them breathers and things kind of went our way.”
Taking advantage of a Homer miscue on defense, Bauer received a solid pass from junior Eric Dolphin and sent it sailing into the upper netting for a 1-0 lead only 10 minutes into the game.
It stayed that way until the 50th minute when senior Ben Wild was in the right place at the right time, corralling a rebound off Homer keeper David Sandoval’s body and placing it in the back of the net.
Bauer then took over.
In the 59th minute, he stole the ball from a Homer defender and broke in one-on-one with Sandoval, sliding it under the diving keeper. He struck again only seven minutes later, capitalizing on another breakaway by rifling a shot past Sandoval’s head from about 20 yards out.
“I couldn’t have done it without the rest of the team. They played great defense. It all started from the back and it just progressed,” Bauer said. “Eric Dolphin did a fantastic job passing me those balls. He had two assists.”
Carpenter said the outburst stemmed from an earlier incident.
“They just angered him. He got the first goal and then he had a nice look down low in the box and they hit him pretty hard and he came off and lost his temper,” he explained. “He got over here and sat for about five minutes and then when he went back on it was just total focus.
“There’s certain kids you just don’t want to anger. If he channels that in the right direction, that’s what you get.”
Nikiski squads drop games to Grace, Wasilla
The Nikiski boys and girls soccer teams lost matches to Wasilla on Wednesday and Grace Christian on Thursday.
On Wednesday at Wasilla, the Nikiski girls dropped a 4-0 decision, with Wasilla getting three goals from Randy Smith and a goal from Dani Healy. The boys dropped a 6-0 contest to Wasilla, with Jordan Ingalls and Tylor Tingstad scoring two goals and Jimmy Sliwa and Joe Campbell each scoring a goal.
On Thursday at Anchorage Football Stadium against Grace, the Nikiski girls lost 5-1. In the first half, Nikiski’s Jennifer Lukasson matched a goal by Grace’s Karly Meyer for a 1-1 game. In the second half, Meghan Przeczewski, Julie Anne Loughlin, Lizzy Wheeles and Justine Smith all scored for Grace.
The Nikiski boys lost to Grace 8-1.
Nikiski plays Palmer at 10 a.m. (girls) and noon (boys) today, but the games are at Colony High School.
Matthew Carroll can be reached at email@example.com.
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