The Soldotna boys soccer team witnessed Palmer’s rough and tough approach to the game in a 3-0 victory over Skyview on Thursday.
When it was their turn, the Stars used that to their advantage.
Not backing down, SoHi jumped in front on an early goal by senior Christos Asimakopoulos and then scored twice more in defeating an undermanned Palmer squad, 3-0, on Friday at Soldotna Middle School.
“It’s trying to keep focused on playing a game that we play and not on how rough we can play and how tough we are,” Stars’ coach Jeff Siemers said of remaining composed in a physical contest. “But really trying to play more of a finesse game.”
The Moose (3-4) took advantage of two penalties whistled inside the box against the Panthers on Thursday, converting on both free kicks, but Siemers and Co. were there taking mental notes.
“It was good to get them fired up for this game by watching the game against Skyview,” he said. “You could see their strong players.
“That’s the advantage of having the guys come down on the Valley trips. They play three games in a row and hopefully you can see some of the games and your competition. Whereas, we don’t see them other times.”
Asimakopoulos staked SoHi to a 1-0 lead in the only the sixth minute when he found the back of the net following a very long scramble inside the box. With legs kicking everywhere and the ball bouncing around on the doorstep, it finally popped into the air where a flying Asimakopoulos put it in.
“It was a long scramble but it was good to see Christos put one away,” Siemers said. “I emphasized to the guys that we needed to come out strong in the first 10 minutes and it was good to see them come through with a goal.”
The Stars (4-1) struck again in the 28th minute when senior Brook Carver rolled a penalty shot to the right of the Palmer goalie.
The tally was the result of Blaine Carver being tripped up while on a breakaway inside the 18-yard line.
Both squads received yellow cards in the opening minutes of the second half and a Palmer player was later ejected for receiving a red card, but not before SoHi made it 3-0 on a goal by Anthony Griglione in the 56th minute.
With the wind at their back, the Stars dominated the second half, limiting Palmer’s shots and terrorizing the Palmer keeper every chance they had.
“We had the wind with us and being able to keep the possession was really the priority,” Siemers said.
Palmer girls 2, Soldotna 1
The Moose (3-3-1) scored twice in the first 16 minutes of the second half, overcoming a one-goal deficit in edging the Stars (2-2-1) on Friday.
“The whole second half we were playing more of a defensive game, instead of coming out and attacking. That doesn’t help,” Soldotna coach Jimmy Love said. “You can’t sit on a lead. You need to play. And that certainly helped.”
Forward Holly Perkins scored the Stars’ lone goal within the first 10 minutes of the game when she rifled a shot from roughly 30 yards out and watched as it sailed over the defense and into the upper corner of the net.
“We’ve been talking about that all year, about taking shots outside the 18,” Love explained. “I think if they see a couple go in then they’re a little more apt to shoot from outside.”
It all went downhill from there, though.
After taking 12 shots in the first half, SoHi was limited to only three in the second as the Moose knotted the game when Claire Woodings intercepted a pass outside the 18, and with a defender on her back, toed the ball past keeper Becky Warton in the 49th minute.
Palmer then took the lead for good seven minutes later when Ashley Swetzof heaved a long throw deep into the box where Krysta Theisen corralled the loose ball and poked it into the net.
“She got a good bounce on her foot, but we had no pressure on her whatsoever. She had a clear view of the entire net. That was kind of a breakdown on our part,” Love said. “You certainly can’t score if you don’t shoot the ball. So, that didn’t help either.”
Soldotna 3, Colony 0
The Stars scored three times in the first half to defeat the Moose on Saturday at Soldotna.
Five minutes into the game, Asimakopoulos scored, assisted by Brook Carver. Just three minutes later, Blaine Carver scored on an assist from Asimakopoulos. In the 35th minute, Blaine Carver finished up the scoring when he rocketed a corner kick from Kyle Van Ryzin off the post, then collected his own rebound and scored.
Daniel Geller had his second shutout in goal for the Stars.
Colony 1, Soldotna 1
The two squads played to a draw on Saturday at Soldotna.
Matthew Carroll can be reached at email@example.com.
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