The Soldotna High School girls soccer team found things a bit crowded in the attacking third of the field Saturday.
With the Seward defense drawn in tight to protect the goal, the Stars were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw in a Region III game at Soldotna.
The Soldotna boys were able to find some gaps in Seward's young, developing defense, though, earning an 8-0 victory.
The Seward girls scored first in their match with the Stars. Chelsea Woelkers played a long ball into the middle of the field, catching the Soldotna defenders flat across the back. Miranda Mahle was able to split the Stars defense, run onto the ball and tuck her shot past the dive of Soldotna goalkeeper Christie Utrup 10 minutes into the match.
Seward's Tara DeRuwe collides with Soldotna's Rachel Besse and another Star during the second half Saturday.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Seward's tight defense turned aside several Soldotna attacks until Jennifer Senette was able to break through with seven minutes to play in the first half.
Senette worked a give and go at the top of the penalty area with teammate Mary Hall, then touched the ball around three Seward defenders before placing her shot low to the far post.
In the second half, Soldotna continued to work the ball up the field at the feet of Senette and Sam Penner, but the Stars couldn't penetrate Seward penalty-area defense.
"Senette controls the pace of the game for us," Soldotna coach Katie Tongue said. "Now, we've just got to score.
"(Seward's) goalie was really good. It's not easy to get it by her. They went hard to the ball, and they had nice speed on offense."
Seward continued to try to use that speed, feeding Mahle on top as often as possible.
"We tried to change things up to make sure someone was open at all times," Seward coach Laura Beck said.
Soldotna's defense also adjusted, though, and between sweeper Ricki Jackson and central back Amy Breakfield, Seward wasn't able to put another point on the board.
The Soldotna boys wasted little time getting on the board against the Seahawks. Ben Histand provided the first goal of the game in the second minute of play.
Lucas Petersen added a goal in the 10th minute and Chris Houglum made it 3-0 at the half.
Anthony Murray scored for the Stars just minutes into the second half while Mike McIntosh and Petersen tallied to give the Stars 6-0 lead in the five minutes into the second half.
Histand scored his second goal of the match midway through the second half, and Peter Kim touched home a cross with eight minutes left in the match to round out the scoring.
Soldotna keeper Houston Morris and Michael Hart combined for the shutout.
Seward coach Marvin Tapsfield said that with his young team, he was more focused on letting his players develop during their junior varsity match. Many of those players were called on to play in the varsity game as well, and Tapsfield had them focused on playing solid defense in their own end.
"As tired as these guys were, they did exactly what I wanted them to do," Tapsfield said.
Seward will return to the central peninsula with games at Nikiski Tuesday and at Skyview Wednesday.
Soldotna will host Homer on Tuesday.
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