Soldotna soccer sweeps Seward

Posted: Thursday, April 28, 2011

Soldotna junior Dagen Walton was mad the score was tied. He was thrilled to break the deadlock.

Walton took a pass from Dawson Pearson at the top of the penalty box and drilled a low liner past goalkeeper John Treece in the 80th minute, lifting SoHi to a 3-2 comeback win over a short-handed Seward squad Wednesday evening at SoHi in Northern Lights Conference Southern Division action.

The Stars earned a 4-2 win in the girls game.

"I couldn't believe that we didn't bring up the intensity earlier, we should have capitalized a lot earlier," said Walton, who also scored in the 10th minute. "We pulled through in the end. It was a bugger to get, but we got it."

A night after losing 4-0 at Grace Christian in their season opener, the Stars took a 1-0 lead on Walton's first goal and were poised for a smooth ride to their first win this season.

The Seahawks suited 11 players, meaning they had no substitutes, and struggled to generate an attack on offense in falling behind 1-0 through 40 minutes. Had Hunter Lott's goal stood in the 33rd minute, it would have been 2-0 at halftime. Instead, he was called offside and the score was negated.

That opened the door for Seward junior Gabe Stovall, who scored twice in the span of five minutes to put the Seahawks ahead.

Stovall dribbled between a crew of defenders and beat SoHi keeper Kayne North from straightaway and about 15 yards out to tie the game in the 46th minute. In the 51st, he gained possession off a high bounce after a Seward goal kick and poked ball past North.

Prior to the exchange, the Seahawks hadn't challenged SoHi's back line.

"The game plan was basically to come out and attack the goalie and see what we can get and go from there," Seward coach Justin Phillips said.

It looked as if the Stars had the equalizer when Matt Fellman fired a high shot from the left wing in the 56th minute. Instead, the ball caromed off the crossbar over the outstretched arms of Treece.

About three minutes later, Cory Carver got behind the defense on a breakaway and caught Treece leaning toward the near post. His low shot across the box deflected off the far post and was cleared out.

"You definitely had the feeling that we could pull it out," Phillips said. "Unfortunately, having no subs kind of set in at the end and you saw the legs go."

Sure enough, in the 60th minute, senior Daniel Koch beat Treece from the top of the box on a line drive to even the score.

That set the stage for Walton, whose goal came a minute before the final whistle.

"They finished when they needed to," SoHi coach Jeff Siemers said. "We just had a lot of opportunities and didn't put it in the net. We made it a little more uncomfortable than we wanted it to be."

Siemers credited North for his work in goal, as well as midfielder Tate Syverson, who helped the Stars control the middle third of the field by winning 50-50 balls and controlling possession.

SoHi faces South Anchorage on Friday and Bartlett on Saturday.

"We just need to keep building our chemistry, keep getting the touches down and start to finish (scoring chances)," Siemers said. "Hopefully things come together."

Soldotna girls 4, Seward 2

T'essa Tovoli scored twice and teammates Phoebe Napolitano and Sydney Goggia added goals as the Stars won for the second consecutive day. They beat Grace Christian 4-0 on Tuesday.

The game was never in doubt after SoHi (2-0) scored three times in the first 15 minutes. The Seahawks suited 12 players but were without six due to other commitments, coach Tim Lebling said.

"We showed signs of greatness, but then we showed signs of inexperienced and young soccer," SoHi coach Mike Tovoli said. "We need to work on quite a bit of things."

Tovoli credited his starting 11, but said the squad must play with more consistency if it expects to compete for an NLC championship.

The Stars went about 35 minutes without a goal between the first and second half, a product of lethargic play, Tovoli said.

Seward cut the lead to 3-1 with about 10 minutes left in the first half when Neeka Erchinger nudged a header past SoHi keeper Becca Satathite, who was caught out of position during a scramble for the ball.

The squads exchanged scores over the final 40 minutes, with Catie Zweifel finding the back of the net for the Seahawks (0-1-1).

"I think we did great," Lebling said. "They gave it their all as far as the fact that they ran the whole 90 minutes with just one sub. I'm really proud of them."

The tone was different during the postgame huddle for the Stars, who are seeking a third conference title in four years.

Tovoli praised Satathite, who was replaced in the second half by Katelyn Kerkvliet, as well as Kaitlyn Van Meter and the starting defenders.

Yet the coach said the team must cut down on mistakes and find some consistency.

"We can't have lapses for 10 or 15 minutes just because we feel like it," he said. "We look good sometimes, like we can compete with anybody in the state. Then there are times when I don't think we can compete with anybody.

"That inconsistency is going to get us, and it's going to get us where it's going to hurt us the most. That's what we need to stop, and that's what we need to focus on."

The Stars looked their best when they spread the field, getting the ball from the middle out to the wings. Kylee Wolfe was active on the right side, sending crosses into the box and finding gaps in Seward's defense.

Tovoli said freshman Julie Litchfield and senior Kaili Sholin had solid outings at forward and midfield, respectively, but they too failed to sustain the level of intensity the coach expects.

"They all show me good stuff, but then it's like we fall apart and we forget," Tovoli said. "It's very frustrating right now."

"We did well moving the ball from the middle to the outside, switching fields is one of the biggest things we've worked on this year."

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