Skyview forward Alicia West is known for her strong right foot.
All she needed Thursday was a little finesse.
West notched the tying goal in a 1-1 draw against Kenai Central with a floating shot in the 73rd minute over goalkeeper Mickey Mahan-Hamill. Kenai Central won the boys game 8-0.
"She has a cannon, so I expect her to put it through keepers," Skyview coach David Carpenter said. "Instead, here comes a little sissy floater. But hey, whatever works."
Carpenter said it was Skyview's first tie against Kenai Central in about five years. All the other matches were losses.
Thursday's contest was headed for a similar ending until a combination play from Nicole Trombley and Rebecca Egan ended with West receiving the ball in space on the left side of the penalty box.
The forward put just enough mustard on the ball to send it sailing over Mahan-Hamill, who made her first career start in place of the injured Sydney Taylor.
It was Skyview's only shot on goal the entire second half. Kenai Central coach Dan Verkuilen didn't use any excuses.
"The bottom line is it's kind of a good lesson that just one chain of events can change everything. It can happen fast," said Verkuilen, whose squad dominated possession and had numerous scoring chances. "Those are the breaks. Sometimes it's just one little thing."
Kenai Central took a 1-0 lead on a first-half goal from Taylor Ostrander, who got behind the defense to beat keeper Amanda McDowell under the crossbar.
Although the ball was in Skyview's defensive side most of the match, the Kards failed to score again.
Jenna Calhoun had three decent attempts for the Kards in the second half, finding open space on the left wing.
About two minutes after West tallied the equalizer, the ball bounced to Calhoun following a Kenai Central corner kick. She nudged it toward the right post, but McDowell extended her arms to send the ball out of the box.
In the 80th minute, Calhoun raced down the left wing and fired a left-footed shot to the near post only to find McDowell there for the save. She made another long run in extra time, but that too ended with McDowell smothering the ball.
"I thought we created all kinds of opportunities," Verkuilen said. "They just didn't go in the net today."
Carpenter said Kenai Central was the more polished squad, making crisp passes and possessing the ball. It was the Panthers' athleticism, the coach added, that kept them in the game.
"You could tell they were much cleaner on their passes, did so many things, where we were kind of hustling our way into situations," Carpenter said. "We were getting to the ball first, winning a lot of 50-50 situations."
Skyview hosts Hutchison at 4 p.m. today. Kenai Central visits Homer on Saturday.
Kenai Central boys 8, Skyview 0
Avery Palchikoff scored a hat trick, TJ Wagoner had a goal and three assists, and Carlos Villarreal, Evan Atchley, Alex Springer and Kyle Scarlett tallied scores as the Kards overpowered the Panthers on Thursday at Skyview.
Palchikoff scored once in the first half and twice in a second half in which the Kards exploded for five goals. Kenai Central improved to 1-1, rebounding from a 1-0 loss to Nikiski on Tuesday.
"We had a few questions after the loss to Nikiski and we really wanted another game to show what we could do," Palchikoff said. "I thought we had a good game today and bounced back."
The game was never in doubt after Palchikoff found the back of the net on assist from Springer in the fifth minute. Scarlett scored about six minutes later. Wagoner then made it 3-0 on a nifty move in the 19th minute, tapping the ball up to his waste and taking it out of midair on his right foot to beat keeper Preston Penrod from about 25 yards out.
Kenai Central coach David Landry turned to his bench during the second half as 20 players saw action.
"You just can't put enough benefit to actually being on the field and playing. That's what it's all about," Landry said. "These guys can get all the touches they want in the gym, but until you get them on the field -- and you start to work combinations and see where people are playing -- it really starts to make sense for them."
Skyview coach Rustin Hitchcock credited Penrod for a solid outing, despite the score. The coach said Penrod stepped into the goalkeeping position in part because the team had no other option.
The Panthers host Hutchison at 6 p.m. tomorrow.
"We are way ahead of where we were last year at this time," Hitchcock said.
Meanwhile, the Kards visit Homer on Saturday.
Palchikoff said each game is vital and it's important the Kards sustain the momentum of Thursday's win.
"We need to collect all the points we can in the Southern Division," he said. "We need the points here and we are going to go in looking to play good, passing soccer."
Hutchison girls 3, Homer 1
Visiting Hutchison received goals from Marissa Burgett, Yata Davis and Gretchen Petri in defeating Homer in nonconference action Thursday.
Homer boys 7, Hutchison 1
Robin Glosser and Bjorn Klaar had two goals apiece, and Quinn Daugharty, Carson Duggar and Ismail Mohamed added scores as Homer cruised past Hutchison in its season opener.
Hutchison's lone goal came on a penalty kick in the second half.
"It was a positive experience," Homer coach Warren Waldorf said. "We know more about ourselves than we did when we got up this morning."
The Mariners host Kenai Central on Saturday.
Palmer boys 7, Nikiski 3
The Moose overpowered the Bulldogs in the first of three road games in as many days for Nikiski.
The Bulldogs face Colony today and Wasilla on Saturday.
Palmer girls 1, Nikiski 0
The Moose scored on a penalty kick in the 78th minute to edge the Bulldogs.
Nikiski coach Mandy Adair said it was a spirited effort by her squad, which lost 5-0 to Kenai Central on Tuesday.
"Just a really hard-fought game, the girls were working hard together and we had some lucky bounces," Adair said. "They came out to prove that the 5-0 loss was a fluke."
The Bulldogs visit Colony tomorrow and Wasilla on Saturday.
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