Over the crossbar. Into the goalkeeper's chest. Outside the posts.
The Soldotna boys soccer team put the ball everywhere but the back of the net.
All the Stars needed was a little help from the opponent.
An own goal by Nikiski broke a scoreless tie in the 56th minute, and the host Stars pounced for two more scores in a 3-1 Northern Lights Conference Southern Division victory Tuesday on a drizzly senior night. The SoHi girls won 6-0.
After pounding Nikiski goalkeeper Kaden Spurgeon with a slew of shots in the first half, SoHi finally took a 1-0 lead midway into the second when Dawson Pearson directed a free kick to Cory Carver and Carver tipped the ball into the penalty box, where it bounced off a Bulldogs player and into the net.
"It was bound to come. It just didn't happen when we wanted it to earlier," SoHi coach Jeff Siemers said. "But we kept it up, kept possession down in our end and tried to be patient, put the ball in the air and let the guys finish."
Three minutes after the own goal, sophomore Cameron Grothe took a left-to-right cross from Carver and buried a shot under the crossbar.
The Stars bumped the lead to 3-0 when Daniel Koch floated a pass to Dawson Shangin, who finished from close range.
Stefan Krogseng answered less than a minute later for the Bulldogs, but the damage had been done.
"It feels pretty good right now," Grothe said. "We're starting to connect together more and finally get to know how each other play, looking for each other more and shooting more."
For more than 50 minutes Tuesday, SoHi repeatedly threatened only to come away with nothing.
Dagen Walton hit the post from deep in the right corner in the 17th minute after he took a pass from Pearson.
In the 33rd, Koch had an open look at the 18-yard marker when Spurgeon was caught leaning to the right. Koch kicked the ball toward the center of the goal, close enough to Spurgeon so he could make a lunging save.
A give-and-go between Pearson and Walton resulted in a dangerous cross in the 36th, but Grothe couldn't get a foot on it in front of an open net.
Grothe said the Stars regrouped at halftime.
"We just came out focused," he said. "Talking more, connecting with each other more and better communication."
The Stars (4-2-0, 3-0-0) visit Wasilla on Friday and Houston on Saturday. Siemers said the squad will have light practices because it's played four games in the past five days.
SoHi defeated Skyview on Monday.
"We're looking forward to keeping the momentum of some goals going," Siemers said. "We're trying to find our right match for positions and everything, so I think we are doing better on that.
"It's a matter of keeping their touch strong and their confidence high."
Soldotna girls 6, Nikiski 0
Lopsided victories during the regular season hold little value to Mike Tovoli. The Soldotna girls soccer coach has made that much clear through two weeks of the 2011 campaign.
The message was no different following the Stars' victory at home over the Bulldogs in Northern Lights Southern Division action on senior night.
"This game? Good, we won. I don't care. We've got to move on, we've got to get better, because beating a team isn't good enough when we make those simple, silly mistakes," said Tovoli, whose squad is seeking a third conference title in four years and has outscored its past three opponents by a combined score of 18-0. "It just drives me crazy, and the girls know that about me. I'm not going to paint a pretty picture just because we win. That means nothing to me."
Sydney Goggia, T'essa Tovoli and Julie Litchfield tallied first-half goals as the Stars built a 3-0 lead through 40 minutes.
Yet the coach said SoHi committed too many offside penalties and wasn't efficient on diagonal runs.
"The first half was very sloppy, unorganized and not played with a lot of emotion or intensity," Tovoli said, crediting his team for improving its play after the break. "We possessed the ball a whole lot better and we just settled down a little bit. I don't know what it was, but we didn't play well (in the first half)."
In the second half the Stars received goals from Kylee Wolfe and Kaitlyn Kerkvliet, both of whom came off the bench.
The squad also enjoyed another strong outing from goalkeeper Rebecca Satathite, who notched shutouts Saturday against Bartlett and Monday against Skyview.
"She's doing a nice job this year," Tovoli said, adding the keeper's success is in part a product of quality play from the Stars' back line. "I think we move the ball better than anybody else on the Peninsula around the back. I call them my five defenders because my goalie is another defender. They do a great job."
Litchfield was active on the right wing, particularly in the first half. She earned an assist on Goggia's goal in the third minute and delivered perhaps the play of the game in the 35th, making a left-to-right crossover at the top of the box and drilling a shot inside the left post past Nikiski keeper Angie Parrish.
The freshman has played a key role in the Stars' attack through six games, a positive sign given the fact it's her first season of high school ball.
"Litchfield does a great job," Tovoli said. "She's a freshman, but she really works hard and she doesn't play like a freshman."
The Stars (5-1-0, 3-0-0) visit Wasilla at 4 p.m. Friday in a game that figures to be closer than the past three.
Tovoli said there's reason to be optimistic, despite what he said was an inconsistent effort in the first half Tuesday.
"We kept battling, we kept playing, and that shows we can get through difficult times," he said. "But just because you win every regular-season game, it doesn't get you to the state tournament. It's all building blocks and all steppingstones and we've got to constantly get better day after day."
Skyview girls 1, Homer 0
The Panthers earned their first win of the season, improving to 1-1-3 with a win over the Mariners in Northern Lights Southern Division competition Tuesday at Skyview.
Karlie Self scored the decisive goal around the 30th minute after teammates Alicia West, Nicole Trombley and Hannah Hutchison each tipped the ball in front of the goal.
Skyview coach David Carpenter said his squad dominated possession and had numerous scoring chances.
"We got creative in taking away our own opportunities," he said.
Skyview goalkeeper Amanda McDowell earned the shutout in net, rebounding from a 5-0 loss to SoHi on Monday.
The Mariners rolled to a 14-0 victory in the boys game.
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