The Nikiski High School boys soccer team collected its first win of the season Saturday, defeating Homer 4-1 in a Region III match at Nikiski.
Also Saturday, the Nikiski girls remained undefeated by playing the Mariners to a 1-1 draw, giving the Bulldogs their two ties on the season.
Joey Wicker put the Nikiski boys, now 1-1-0, on the board just nine minutes into the first half, chipping a shot over the fingertips of Homer keeper David Bell from 25 yards out.
Nick Russell made it 2-0 for the Bulldogs in the 18th minute, getting a boot on a ball played through the middle before Bell, charging off his line, could cut down the angle.
Homer was able to find the back of the net five minutes later. After a scramble in front of the Nikiski goal, the ball was poked just out of the penalty area, where Monte Garroutte was able to pounce on it. Garroutte's shot through a crowd easily beat Nikiski keeper Josh Winters, who was still trying to get back in position after parrying a shot away during the initial scramble.
Winters came up with a huge save in the 25th minute, though, stoning the Mariners on a counterattack, and Nikiski maintained the momentum through the rest of the match.
"We played pretty well," Wicker said. "We started letting down at the end of the first half, but we talked about it at halftime and came out and played a great second half."
Wicker pumped in one more goal before the half, staying with a bouncing ball despite being knocked down by a Homer defender. Wicker was able to jump right up and touch the ball past Bell, who was caught moving the wrong way.
Kevin Gerke added one more goal 16 minutes into the second half for the Bulldogs, running on to a ball played through the Homer defense.
"Our plan was to bring the ball down on the wing, then try and center it," Wicker said. "Our offense worked real well together, and our defense was doing really good, too. Those guys kept us in the game."
Nikiski coach James Coburn said he liked the way his team worked the ball up the field, and credited his defense of Rustin Hitchcock, Nigel Penhale, Travis McCaughey and Travis McGahan with another solid game.
The Bulldogs also had solid efforts from Russell at forward and Wicker, Brandon Huhndorf and Robert Doty in the midfield.
The Mariners were able to create some excellent scoring opportunities for themselves.
"The style we play, we do a lot of passing, and there were stretches where it was there for us," Homer coach Ed Kelly said. "But we struggled defensively, and that made us prone to mistakes on long through balls. That's what killed us today."
The Homer boys are 1-2-0 after defeating Seward 5-2 Friday at Homer. The Mariners got three goals from Llosh Winne, a strike from Wes Busby and a goal from Zefren Christiansen.
Seward's Blake Pullins potted the first goal of the match on a penalty kick, then set up Robbie Blankenship for the final goal of the match.
The Homer girls were able to create plenty of chances for themselves against Nikiski, but the Mariners hit the crossbar twice and Bulldogs goalkeeper Karen Rabung was able to haul in all but one other shot the keep the game knotted at 1.
Nikiski's Amanda Weaver put the first goal on the board, tucking her shot just under the Homer crossbar in the 25th minute.
Homer equalized four minutes later when Chantrelle Cousins got her foot on a ball played through into the Nikiski penalty area, just beating Rabung with her shot.
Nikiski goalie Karen Rabung makes a save in front of Homer's Holly McCune during the second half Saturday.
Photo by M. SCOTT MOON
The Homer girls are now 2-0-1 after defeating Seward 8-0 Friday. Carly Garay and Amanda Connolly each scored three goals for the Mariners.
Colony girls 4, Soldotna 2
Soldotna dropped a Region III match at Colony Saturday.
Jennifer Senette tallied a goal and an assist and Sam Penner notched a goal for the Stars.
Colony girls 3, Kenai 2
The Knights edged the Kardinals in a Region III match at Colony.
Karli Knudsen and Erin Smith scored for the Kardinals, with Jamie Montgomery notching an assist.
Colony girls 9, Skyview 0 Palmer girls 2, Skyview 1 Wasilla girls 11, Skyview 1
Skyview (0-3) rebounded from Thursday's Region III loss to Colony with a solid showing against Palmer Friday, but finished up the Valley swing with a tough loss to Wasilla Saturday.
Ginny Berg scored for the Panthers against Palmer Friday, finishing off a corner kick with an assist going to Jenny Carpenter, tying the game at 1.
Palmer netted the matchwinner with just minutes left to play, though.
"We didn't put up too much offense, but our defense played well, and at least we were able to take advantage of the opportunity we got," Skyview coach Tony Lewis said.
Amber Kunz posted Skyview's lone goal against Wasilla, positioning herself to get a foot on a ball deflected by the keeper after a Skyview free kick.
Lewis said that sweeper Jamie Beever and fullback Donna Sadler both played well during the three-game road trip.
Kenai boys 4, Colony 1 Kenai boys 1, Palmer 0
The Kardinals (3-0) netted a weekend sweep with wins at Colony Friday and at Palmer Saturday.
Micah Lillard put the Kardinals on the board against Colony, assisted by Nick Barnes, in the 17th minute.
Colony equalized five minutes later, but Lillard scored his second of the match, assisted by Richard Alexander and Adrian Borchgrevink, to give Kenai a 2-1 lead at the half.
Alexander made it 3-1, finishing off a play set up by Cory Whitely and Borchgrevink with six minutes to play.
Borchgrevink, assisted by Barnes in the 78th minute, gave the Kardinals their final margin of victory.
Kenai coach David Landry said Eric Nyce made several big saves in goal, and credited his defense of Wally Ward, Marcus Webster and Cory Janson with yet another solid performance.
Landry said that his midfield was keyed by the play of Carlos Carreon and Alexander.
Barnes scored the only goal of the match Saturday against Palmer in the ninth minute of play.
Webster won the ball on the wing and played the ball through for Borchgrevink, who laid the ball off for Barnes when the defense started to converge on him.
Nyce made the tally stand up with several excellent saves, though Landry said that if not for some heroics by the Palmer goalkeeper, Kenai's lead easily could have been greater.
Landry said Carreon's contributions were invaluable, as were the efforts of Whitely and Barnes, and added that forward Owen Brewer filled the role of Mr. Everything for the Kardinals during the weekend trip. Jacob Madrid and Bryan Stocks also gave the Kardinals a boost.
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