Better late than never.
After having their first three matches postponed, the Nikiski High School boys soccer team finally got a game in Thursday, defeating Ketchikan 1-0 in a nonconference match at Nikiski.
Also Thursday, the Nikiski girls dropped an 11-0 decision to the visiting Kings.
“For our first game, we did pretty good. We had a couple of slip-ups, but nothing we can’t fix,” said Rick Miller, the Nikiski boys goalie.
After a scoreless first half, the Bulldogs netted the first goal of the match seven minutes into the second half. Israel Blatchford took an indirect free kick from 35 yards out and drove the ball into the Ketchikan penalty area, where it deflected off the head of a Kings defender and into the goal.
Miller then had his hands full making sure the goal stood up. The Nikiski captain was called on to come off his line on several occasions to clear away Ketchikan breakaways, and twice in the closing 15 minutes, the Kings pushed point-blank shots just wide of the post.
Miller’s biggest test came in the closing minutes when Ketchikan was awarded a penalty kick after Nikiski hand ball in the Bulldogs’ penalty area. Miller made a diving stop to his left, preserving the Nikiski win.
Miller finished with 14 saves.
“Any time you get to play a team as good as Ketchikan, it’s a lot of fun,” Miller said. “(Starting with a win) is a great thing. We’re excited now.”
Nikiski coach James Coburn said he was pleased with how well his team played, particularly because the Bulldogs have only begun practicing outside this week.
“To get a win after out third day on grass, I feel fortunate,” Coburn said.
Coburn said he liked the way his defensive unit Kenny Fagan, J.D. Hall, Jason Moore and Josh Vance played.
The Bulldogs will be busy with nine more games in the 12 days, starting with a trip to Seward today and a home match against Homer Saturday.
Ketchikan girls 11, Nikiski 0
The Bulldogs felt fortunate just to get outside but had a tough start against a good Ketchikan team.
“We have a lot of new players, and we’ve been out on grass for four days now, this being the fourth day. Really for us, it’s more a matter of getting out and playing another team,” said first-year coach Tom Bennett.
Bennett said he was pleased with the play of forward Amber Huhndorf, midfielders Alexa McClure and Jackie Palm, and central defender Sherra Pritchard, who was playing the position for the first time.
Whitney Walters picked up three goals for the Kings, as did Elizabeth Harney. Amy Wadley scored a pair of goals, and Marissa Medford, Nicci Johnson and Kristen Peterson each scored a goal.
The Kings are packing in as many matches as they can during their road trip. They started Tuesday with a game in Anchorage before playing in Homer Wednesday. The Kings will play Skyview at Nikiski today, then head to Anchorage for a match with Grace Christian Saturday.
“Everybody agrees, this is our favorite trip,” said Ketchikan coach Kay Jones. “We get a great variety, from Anchorage down to Homer, and most of the Kenai schools are our size.”
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