Soldotna's Hannah Anderson celebrates her game-winning goal with Heather Sinclair and Kala Fowler in the second half Friday.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
The Soldotna and Wasilla varsity soccer teams split a pair of Northern Lights Conference games Friday at Soldotna High School.
In the girls game, Soldotna's Hannah Anderson scored with about three minutes left in the game to give the Stars a 1-0 victory.
In the boys game, the Warriors notched a 7-0 victory, with Victor Fonov picking up two goals and an assist.
With the victory, the SoHi girls moved to 3-4 overall and improved their record against NLC Northern Division teams to 3-1. Unfortunately for the Stars, they play in the NLC Southern Division and games against those teams determine if Soldotna makes the conference tournament.
Soldotna girls coach Jimmy Love said his team played its best game of the season Friday.
"Maybe we should switch conferences," Love said jokingly. "When we play Southern Division teams and we need to win those games, we don't relax, and we don't play as well."
The Stars were without two solid players in Lauren Senette and Eve Green, but that did not stop them from putting together a solid effort against the Warriors (3-6-2 overall).
Wasilla's Vladimir Dahl jumps over Soldotna keeper Kory Wilbanks while scoring in the second half Friday.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Wasilla opened up the second half pressing hard for a goal. When Beck Hasselbach sailed a shot just over the crossbar, Soldotna was taking its fifth goal kick in the opening eight minutes of the half.
The Warriors were never able to get can't-miss opportunities, though, and Soldotna goalie Maricela Sanchez didn't give Wasilla any breaks.
"We couldn't finish the ball," Wasilla coach Katie Broeder said. "We had lots of opportunities."
After weathering the storm, Soldotna started attacking fiercely in the last 10 minutes of the game. With five minutes to play in the game, Katey Jones ticketed a shot for the side of the goal, but it was cleared off the line by a Wasilla defender.
A minute later, Anderson, who had been making effective runs up the sideline the entire game, arrived at a cross at the same time as Wasilla goalie Dani Haley. Haley was able to cover the loose ball.
Finally, a minute later, Anderson, after getting a pass from Stacey Foster, dribbled the ball toward the end line and lofted a tough-angle shot over Haley's head for the game winner.
"She's got some amazing speed," Love said of Anderson. "If we could work with her more on tactics and footwork, she'd be an amazing forward."
Wasilla's Jeff Champion and Soldotna's Kevin Laurion battle for control of the ball Friday.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Despite the loss, Broeder said Allie Johnson had a good game at goalie and defense, Hasselbach had a good game at sweeper, Christine Cloud did well at stopper and Katie Shadrach was solid at sweeper.
Wasilla boys 7, Soldotna 0
The Warriors (7-1-3) were coming off a 6-3 loss to Skyview. They took their anger out on the Stars on both ends of the field.
"Last night really stung," Wasilla coach Blake Livingston said of the loss to the Panthers. "I think our guys came out inspired today."
Livingston said the Warriors are back on track on defense after giving up six goals.
"The foundation of our team is defense," Livingston said. "We really focused today on sticking hard to what got us to this point, and that's having a solid defense."
Soldotna coach Jeff Siemers said against Wasilla his team did not come out playing with enough intensity.
"They came to play after losing to Skyview yesterday," Siemers said. "They were hungry. We were not."
Wasilla jumped ahead just six minutes into the game, when Fonov found Jeff Champion wide open at the penalty spot. Five minutes later, Wasilla's David Kellner-Rode made it 2-0 when his long shot slipped through the hands of SoHi goalie Kory Wilbanks.
Soldotna appeared to have cut the lead to 2-1 with eight minutes to play in the first half, but Alberto de la Garza's goal was not allowed due to offsides.
Three minutes into the second half, Fonov scored on a penalty kick. Then 15 minutes into the half, SoHi's Brennen Jackson was sent off with a red card, forcing the Stars to play a man short.
The Warriors took advantage and quickly tacked on four more goals. Jimmy Sliwa scored on a long throw-in from Kellner-Rode, Vladimir Dahl scored on a pass from John Pahkala, Fonov scored on a pass from Dahl and Kendal Copping scored unassisted.
Siemers said Kevin Laurion showed good hustle at midfield, with his one mistake being a yellow card he earned. Siemers also said Keegan Birchfield did a good job at sweeper in the first half.
Joe Hunner earned the shutout in goal for the Warriors.
Soldotna girls 6, Seward 0
The host Stars picked up their first victory in the NLC-Southern Division Saturday.
The game puts Soldotna at 1-3 in the division and sets up a clash with Skyview Monday to see which team will qualify for the conference tournament.
Jordan Love, Stacey Foster, Jenni Stenga, Ashley Bell, Hannah Anderson and Sasha Porter had goals for the Stars. Tory Coursen had an assist. Coach Jimmy Love also said Heather Sinclair did a good job at stopper, and Coursen did a good job crossing the ball all day.
"That's the season right there is Monday night," Love said. "Whoever wins that game is the fourth seed going in from the south. "There would be a lot riding on the game anyway. That rivalry is like Kenai-Soldotna. It's almost stepped up to the next level."
Soldotna boys 9, Seward 0
A day after getting clobbered by Wasilla, the Stars clinched a spot in the Northern Lights Conference tourney by winning this Southern Division game against the Seahawks Saturday.
"It was the same field but a different outcome," said Soldotna coach Jeff Siemers, whose team is now 2-2 in the south. "Being on the other side of a shutout felt a little better."
Siemers said Kory Wilbanks made several nice saves in recording the shutout.
Kyle Martin and Kevin Laurion each had two goals for Soldotna, while Garrett Gardner, Joe Smith, Christos Asimakopoulos, Spencer Tachick and Tony Hernandez each had one goal.
Siemers also said Alberto de la Garza hustled a lot in the midfield.
"It's definitely good to get us into the region tournament," Siemers said. "Hopefully, we'll get the momentum moving for the tournament."
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