Kenai boys, girls make big strides

Posted: Sunday, May 04, 2003

The sunny weather Friday and Saturday matched the disposition of Kenai boys coach David Landry after a pair of games against Wasilla and Colony.

The host Kardinals defeated Wasilla 3-2 Friday before playing to a 1-1 draw with Colony Saturday. The two matches improved Kenai's record to 1-3-1 overall.

"This was a terrific weekend for Kenai," coach David Landry said.

In Friday's match, the Warriors struck first in the 30th minute of the match.

The Kardinals tied it up five minutes into the second half when Grant Wisniewski converted a long throw-in from Cory Janson.

Janson set up another goal eight minutes later with a throw-in. Micah Lillard took a shot off the throw-in, but it deflected to Cory Whitely, who punched the ball into the back of the net.

The Kards pushed the lead to 3-1 with seven minutes left in the match. Jacob DeClouet got the ball 30 yards from the goal, beat one defender, then unleashed a rocket into the upper corner of the goal.

The Warriors scored with three minutes left in the match to cut the lead to 3-2, but Kenai hung on for the victory.

Landry said the defense of Janson, Matt Mayer and Geoffrey Gemmell had a great match against Wasilla. Midfielders Jacob Madrid, Zack Hicks, Cory Whitely and Dan Silver also had a solid match.

In the Colony match, Kenai appeared to take a 1-0 lead in the first half on a beautiful free kick by DeClouet. But, the goal was called back due to an offsides on Kenai leading up to the free kick.

The Kardinals scored a goal that counted 15 minutes into the second half. Janson uncorked a long throw-in to DeClouet. DeClouet got the ball to Whitely for a goal.

Colony pressured the Kenai net, but had trouble finishing. Landry said the Knight had about 25 shots, but only eight went on net.

The Knights finally broke through with four minutes left in the match for the equalizer.

Landry credited Lillard with a positive weekend, saying his hustle softened up the opponent's defense for a couple of goals.

Next week, Kenai needs to do well in games against Seward, Nikiski and Soldotna to make the Region III tournament.

"This was a real positive weekend with the three most important games of the season coming up," Landry said.

Kenai girls 1, Wasilla 1

Colony girls 4, Kenai 1

The Kardinals moved to 1-2-2 overall on the year after the matches on their home field.

Friday against the Warriors, Keeley Boyle put Kenai up 1-0 10 minutes into the second half when she converted a cross by Katie Burck.

The Warriors managed to get the equalizer with 20 minutes left in the match.

"They had about 11 seniors going," Kenai coach Dan Verkuilen said. "The nice part is that they were very physical, and I'm glad to see our ninth- and 10th-graders didn't shy away from that."

Due to Wasilla's experience, Verkuilen said the play of Kenai seniors Janna Krein, Rachel Knowles and Leticia Haynes was vital. Verkuilen also said Kassi Kiel had a strong game in goal.

Saturday against the Knights, the Kardinals were playing their fourth game in five days. Colony took a 3-0 lead after the first half, and got an own goal just minutes into the match.

"At halftime I told them, This is a learning thing. Don't fall into a defensive shell. We play out best moving forward,'" Verkuilen said.

Boyle used that halftime advice to score five minutes into the second half. Boyle converted her own rebound.

The rest of the half, Kenai had two crossbar shots, another roll off the top bar, and another thwarted breakaway.

Colony got another goal shortly before the game ended.

Verkuilen said Chelsea Harris had a good game at midfield, Rochelle Stretch did well at forward and Haley Mishler played solid at halfback.

Seward girls 0, Homer 0

The Mariners played to a scoreless draw in a Region III-Southern Division match against the Seahawks in Seward Saturday.

"It doesn't sound exciting, but it truly was," said Seward coach Laura Beck. "It was the first time we got to use our full field, so we were breaking it in together."

Beck said both teams had great scoring chances, but the goalkeepers at both ends of the pitch came up big.

Seward is 2-3-1 overall and has a crucial stretch of games this week against division opponents. Homer is 2-1-1 in division play and 2-4-1 overall.

Homer boys 4, Seward 0

The Mariners rebounded from Thursday's heartbreaker against Skyview to put together a solid win in a Region III-Southern Division tilt in Seward.

"The guys have shown they have the mental toughness to get off the bus after a three-hour ride and still be able to play," said Homer coach Ed Kelley. "We haven't always had that in Homer."

The Mariners, who were missing a few players due to SATs, led 3-0 at the half on goals by Wes Busby, Brady Boone and Dylan Toole. Busby added another goal in the second half.

Homer is 3-4 overall and 3-1 in division play.



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