When Nikiski boys soccer coach Jim Coburn first met Stefan Krogseng, then in middle school, he was playing goalie.
Coburn didn't like what he saw.
"He told me he was a goalie and I watched him for a few minutes and, no, he's not a goalie," Coburn said. "I pulled him out of goal and put him at midfield."
In the Bulldogs first home game of the short season on Tuesday, Krogseng recorded a hat trick, as did Josh Hall, and junior goalkeeper Jordan Harrison stopped the few shots that came his way in helping Nikiski earn a dominating 7-0 win over Skyview in Northern Lights Conference action.
"He's a good finisher," Coburn said of Krogseng, who opened the scoring just five minutes into the game when he gracefully headed the ball into the side netting off a perfect cross by Zach Alkire.
Calvin Williams made it 2-0 only nine minutes later when he struck from no-man's land, launching a direct kick more than 40 yards over the defense and surprised Skyview keeper Bryce Wilson, who did all he could to prevent the third goal at the 20-minute mark but again came up short.
Wilson made the initial sliding save on Krogseng, but the ball ricocheted directly to Hall, who composed himself before driving the ball off the left post and into the net.
Ian Krogseng then set up Stefan for the fourth goal three minutes later and Hall tacked on another 25 minutes in when he stole the ball outside the 18-yard box, dribbled 10 yards and placed the ball by a diving Wilson.
Krogseng picked up his third goal when he one-timed a rebound off Wilson into the back of the net with less than a minute to play in the opening half.
"They came out real hungry and we didn't. So, here we are," said Panthers coach David Carpenter. "We just figured if we could hunker in and not let them get off to that fast start, but unfortunately they got off to it and we paid the price.
"Then it kind of got that confusion started and we just didn't keep up with that pace."
It was a welcome turnaround for the Bulldogs, who scored a trio of second-half goals in forging a 3-3 tie at Wasilla on Friday before losing 4-2 to Palmer the following day.
Despite being just their second and third games of the season, though, Coburn said the effort against the Warriors and Moose may be a turning point for his squad.
"That was a big morale booster and we actually started playing. ... It just showed what we could really do when we work together as a team," he said of the Wasilla game. "I expected a quick start (today). The guys had a really good game against Palmer even though we came up short and lost. I expected them to start the same way they finished that game, which is working together and passing.
"We wanted to get together, work together and get everybody in the game with a chance to play as a team," Coburn said. "Today we played more like a team than we have all year."
Skyview controlled most of the second half, but couldn't convert on its many opportunities, including a handful of scoring chances in the first 10 minutes.
Hall capped the scoring when he poked in a rebound off a missed penalty shot by Ian Krogseng and when the final whistle sounded, the Bulldogs (1-2-1) had earned their first win of the season.
"I feel like this is as good a team as I've ever had this year," said Coburn, in his 11th season at the helm. "I've had a couple good teams, but this group seems to work together better than some of the ones I've had in the past."
Nikiski girls 3, Skyview 1
Britany Tuttle scored twice and the Bulldogs' defense rarely afforded the Panthers scoring opportunities in leading Nikiski to its first win of the season in NLC action at Nikiski.
"We're really excited to get our first win, which is always nice," said first-year Nikiski coach Mandy Adair. "Came out very strong and our defense played a great game today."
Tuttle opened the scoring around the 15-minute mark and defenders Tyler Mabrey, Jessickah Samskar and Abby Chadwick formed a virtual wall in keeping Skyview off the board in the first half.
"Getting that first goal gives us confidence and starts everything rolling," Adair said.
Hillary Bogard made it 2-0 in the 54th minute when her shot from the right side sailed into the left netting and Tuttle, aided by a little wind and a smidgeon of luck, uncorked a floater from nearly 30 yards away that carried over the defense and into the upper, right corner of the goal for a 3-0 lead.
Not about to quit, the Panthers (0-4) netted their first goal of the season in the 73rd minute when Jessica Stewart sent a beautiful pass through the defense to a charging Hannah Hutchison, who rocketed the ball of the keeper and into the net. "Second half we came, got our first goal of the season and we got some stuff to build on," said first-year Skyview coach Rustin Hitchcock. "The girls over there, they said they felt it, too. Now we know this is a team and we're going to carry on forward."
Kenai Central boys 9, Seward 2
The host Kardinals scored six unanswered goals in the second half to take control of the first game of the season for both teams.
"Seward didn't have a lot of players and I think they tired out a little bit," Kenai coach David Landry said after getting a big Northern Lights Conference Southern Division victory. "We also started playing as more of a team."
Codi Woodcock got the scoring started for the Kards in the fifth minute when he scored on a penalty kick after foreign exchange student Javier Guerri was pulled down in the penalty box.
Kenai went up 2-0 in the 10th minute when Brady Perkins scored on an assist from Guerri. Seward came back with a goal before Michael Morin scored on an assist from Woodcock for a 3-1 lead at the 23rd minute.
The Seahawks cut the gap to 3-2 at the half on a penalty kick, but it was all Kenai in the second half. In the final 40 minutes, Woodcock scored on an assist from Justin Calhoun, Calhoun scored on an assist from Woodcock, Guerri scored on an assist from Woodcock, Guerri scored unassisted, Vincent Madrid scored unassisted and Calhoun scored unassisted.
"I have to really credit the Seward boys," Landry said. "They played disciplined and they played well."
The host Kenai girls also defeated Seward on Tuesday in Northern Lights Conference action.
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