The Kenai Central and Nikiski boys soccer teams played to a 1-1 tie on Monday in Nikiski in Northern Lights Conference Southern Division action.
The Bulldogs are now 2-1-3 overall and 0-0-1 in the Southern Division. The Kardinals are 1-0-2 overall and 1-0-1 in the division.
The Kards put pressure on Nikiski early in the game but Bulldogs keeper Jordan Harrison was up to the task.
"Jordan had a great game in goal," Nikiski coach Jim Coburn said. "Kenai had several good opportunities to score. I would say they controlled a big part of the first half."
Coburn said his team came on at the end of the first half. The Bulldogs were rewarded when Matt Parker scored on a corner kick from Sam Taylor. There was a scramble in the box for the ball and Parker won. Parker is a senior playing his first year of high school soccer.
"He works hard and it paid off today," Coburn said.
The Kardinals equalized in the 54th minute when Dom Eubank assisted on a 14-yard blast by Justin Calhoun. Kenai's comeback stalled when Brady Perkins was sent off with a red card shortly after the goal, forcing the Kardinals to play a man down for the rest of the game.
"Part of it's language, part of it is just a lack of concentration and self-control," Kenai coach David Landry said in addressing the red cards. "The boys just don't seem to get it. That's two games in a row."
Kenai was already low on manpower. The Kardinals had just 11 varsity players and had to bring three freshmen up to varsity. Starting goalie Bryson Lowe missed the game after getting a red card in Kenai's last game.
The Kards also were missing four players taking a final for a college class, one player due to discipline and another player due to injury.
Coburn said Kenai backup goalie James Watkins stepped up to help the Kardinals preserve the tie.
"The kids were a little disappointed," Coburn said. "They felt like when a team is down a man, they are on their heels and they should be able to finish them off."
Landry gave Nikiski credit for withstanding Kenai's early pressure on goal.
"Through all of this, we're still playing hard from front to back," Landry said of his team.
Kenai hosts Homer today, with the girls playing at 4 p.m. and the boys at 6 p.m.
Kenai girls 2, Nikiski 1
Jenna Calhoun had a goal and an assist as the Kardinals notched a Southern Division victory on Monday in Nikiski.
Kenai is now 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the Southern Division. Nikiski is 2-3 and 0-1.
The Kardinals took the lead in the 17th minute when Lauren Schams played a cross into the box. Calhoun got to the ball and played it to Taylor Matson, who scored.
Overall, though, the Nikiski defense, led by goalie Angie Parrish and sweeper Jessica Samskar, was able to keep Kenai from running away from the game.
"Our defense really stood strong," Nikiski girls coach Mandy Adair said. "We were able to shut down a lot of what the Kenai offense likes to do."
When the Kardinals did get a good opportunity, they couldn't cash in.
"It was one of those wall-in-front-of-the-goal-type deals," Kenai coach Dan Verkuilen said.
The Bulldogs fought back in the first 10 minutes of the second half when Logan Tuttle launched a 20-yard shot over the head of Kenai keeper Sydney Taylor. Just minutes before, Taylor had to save a penalty kick by Britany Tuttle. Britany Tuttle also hit the crossbar in the game.
"Things got a little nerve-racking there for a while," Verkuilen said.
In the 60th minute, Calhoun cashed in a penalty kick for the game winner.
Verkuilen said his defense played well, with Allie McGahan moving up into the midfield and freshman Cassie Ross moving into the lineup on defense.
"Last year, we lost to Kenai pretty bad," Adair said. "It shows the growth and development of our program. We like the rest of the peninsula to know that Nikiski is a team you have to think about and prepare for."
Soldotna boys 6, Seward 0
The visiting Stars had six different players score in picking up a Southern Division victory over the Seahawks.
Robbie Smithwick, Blaine Carver, Jonas Perletti, Cameron Grothe, Will McDermid and Daniel Koch found the back of the net for the Stars. Cody Vandehey had the shutout for Soldotna.
There was no girls game on Monday because Seward does not have a varsity team. Soldotna travels to Skyview today, with the girls playing at 4 p.m. and the boys playing at 6 p.m.
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