The Kenai Central High School soccer teams posted a sweep Friday over Seward in Region III play at Kenai.
The Seward girls managed to turn away many of the Kardinals' attacks, but Kenai managed to score a pair of goals while keeping the Seahawks off the board in a 2-0 win.
The Kenai boys found it a bit easier to find the back of the net. The Seahawks did well to hold the Kardinals to four goals in the first half, but the floodgates opened late in the second half as Kenai rolled to a 13-0 win.
Friday's slippery conditions foiled a pair of early scoring chances for the Kenai girls. Jessi Reilly twice found herself with the ball in good shooting position, but had either the ball or her feet go out from under her before she could put a quality shot on goal.
Seward's Robbie Blankenship and Kenai's Adrian Borchgrevink collide under the ball Friday evening.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Kenai's defense kept Seward off the board as well, and did a good job of pinning the ball in the Seahawks' end of the field for long stretches of time in the first half.
"The defense is playing real smooth," said Kenai girls coach Dan Verkuilen. "Jenna Krein did a real nice job, and the veterans on defense, Kirsten Ehrhardt and Rachel Popp, play the position so well, they clear it every time back there."
Kenai finally got on the board late in the first half when Karli Knudsen made a move along the end line and put a hard cross toward the center of the penalty area. Her pass deflected off a Seward defender and over the head of Seahawks goalkeeper Jamie Fredrickson, who had stepped off her line to defend the cross.
The Kardinals opened the second half with a sustained attack, but Seward's defensive strategy of packing the penalty area on defense made it difficult for Kenai to get off a quality shot.
"I thought we built up really nice on the wings," Verkuilen said. "It's a nice problem to have when you can control the ball all game and you just have trouble putting it in.
"Jessi's doing a nice job of being aggressive around the ball. She's learning when to hit the ball, when to pass and when to go one on one. Those are mature decisions she's learning to make."
Kenai did have a golden chance early in the half, but a Seward defender was whistled in the penalty area for handling the ball.
The gaff actually saved a goal as Fredrickson made a diving save to stop Jamie Montgomery's ensuing penalty kick.
"I was watching her feet, and I could see she was shooting it to my right," Fredrickson said. "It was a hard shot, but it wasn't too far away."
Kenai got its second goal late in the second half when Reilly followed up her own shot. Her chip from just inside the penalty area found its way to the back of the net past Fredrickson, who had been able to parry away the initial shot.
Reilly's goal, the result of a quick counterattack through midfield, was one of the few opportunities the Kardinals had without six or seven Seward defenders jamming the penalty area.
" We're steady on defense," said Seward coach Laura Beck. "When we give up a goal, it's usually because of our own mistakes."
Meanwhile, Kenai's back four limited the Seahawks to just a few scoring chances, and Kardinals goalkeeper Wendy Wiles turned aside the few shots she faced.
"She's not shy," Verkuilen said after his keeper came out sliding to stop a Seward breakaway. "She's quick off her line and she's very quick laterally. She's top-notch in terms of skills, now it's just a matter of getting more playing time."
The Kenai boys rang a pair of shots off the Seward woodwork before finding the back of the net 16 minutes into the first half.
Nick Barnes added a goal four minutes later, and Ben Haring and Adrian Borchgrevink added goals to close out the first half.
Haring scored two more goals in the second half while Borchgrevink and Barnes each scored their second goal after the intermission. Carlos Carrion, Owen Brewer, Sam Steiner and Steve Steiner also scored for the Kardinals. Borchgrevink was credited with three assists, Haring and Ryan Whiteley each had two assists and J.D. Pault, Barnes, Richard Alexander and Steve Steiner each had one assist.
Kenai keepers Eric Nyce and Ross Baldwin made two saves each.
"The kids are working hard to play the control style we want to maintain," Kenai boys coach David Landry said. "We want to keep the game simple, and we had a variety of chances.
"Seward fought us hard. I thought they won more balls than us in the first half."
Kenai boys 4, Grace 1
The Kardinals finished up their weekend with a Region III win over Grace, improving to 3-0-1 overall and in the region.
Owen Brewer put the Kardinals on the board eight minutes into the match, assisted by Cory Janson.
Grace tied the game seven minutes later, but the Kardinals came right back with a goal by Carlos Carrion, assisted by Richard Alexander, in the 16th minute.
Kenai's Ryan Whiteley lofted a cross that carried into the net in the 24th minute. Brewer was credited with the assist on the play. Nick Barnes rounded out the scoring with a goal late in the first half, assisted by Steve Steiner.
"We're happy to pick up the six points (in the standings) over the weekend, and we're happy with where we're at," said Kenai coach David Landry.
Landry was pleased with the play of J.D. Pault, Alexander and Devon Anderson in the midfield, and said Adrian Borchgrevink had another busy afternoon up front.
Kenai faces a tough stretch of games this week, with Palmer coming to town Thursday, Wasilla at Kenai on Friday and Homer at Kenai Saturday.
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