The first time the Skyview High School boys soccer team played Wasilla this season, during an early season road trip, the Warriors notched a 2-1 win.
Round 2 was Friday, this time at Skyview, and the Panthers came away with a hard-earned 1-0 victory in a nondivision match.
And round 3 the elimination round will be scheduled for Friday morning at the Region III tournament in Kenai.
"It was just a fun game. We enjoy playing them," said Skyview's Sean Mallette. "We'll have them back anytime."
Also Friday, the Skyview girls played to a scoreless draw with the Warriors.
The win pushes the Skyview boys record to 7-1 overall.
"We felt like we did a really good job," said Skyview's Sean Mallette.
Elliott Gauthier scored the only goal of the match six minutes into the second half. With the wind favoring the Panthers, Gauthier was able to curl his corner kick directly into the net.
"Elliott has got a very good kick like that. I'm sure he was thinking that way," Skyview coach Dave Carpenter said when asked if Gauthier intended to shoot or was just lucky with a cross on the play.
The Panthers had several good scoring opportunities through the first half, but would-be shooters had trouble connecting on several dangerous crosses.
Defensively, Skyview paid close attention to Wasilla striker Angelo Ebenal, and the Panthers were able to keep the Warriors in check as the first half ended without a goal.
With the wind at its back to start the second half, the Panthers immediately began to sustain some pressure at the Warriors' end of the field. A minute after Gauthier's goal, Skyview had another great scoring bid, but Wasilla goalkeeper Joe Hunner made a solid save and, after a Skyview player knocked the ball free of his grasp and into the goal, was ruled to have been in possession of the rebound, negating the score.
Skyview goalkeeper Matt Stalnick was called on to make several good saves through the second half, his best coming midway through the half when he tipped a hard shot just over the crossbar. He followed that up with a quick reaction save to parry away a shot on the ensuing corner kick.
The Warriors were able to create a couple of scrambles in front of the goal as the clock ticked down, but the Skyview defense was able to help Stalnick keep a clean sheet.
"Our defense held up pretty well," Mallette said.
Skyview's Tyler Thornton flies clear of Wasilla keeper Joe Hunner after a shot attempt in the first half Friday.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
The Panthers also survived a bit of ugliness at the end of the match as a Wasilla player was booked for a foul challenge and then had words for both the referee and the Skyview bench.
"We found their breaking point," Mallette said. "We know what to look for when we play them next time at regions."
In the girls match, neither team was able to score, though both had a few good chances in the second half.
Wasilla's best chance came 25 minutes into the second half when a shot beat the Skyview goalkeeper, bounced off the inside of the post and rolled along the goal line.
Skyview keeper Jenny Andrus never gave up on the shot, though, and managed to scramble back and snatch the ball up before it could clear the goal line.
Wasilla also hit the crossbar five minutes later, but the Panthers again managed to clear the ball away.
"We would like to have scored some goals," said Skyview coach Tony Lewis. "It's been a while since we've scored. We had a few decent opportunities, we just didn't put them away."
Lewis said Anna Evanson played a good game for the Panthers in her defensive stopper role. Evanson stepped into the role after Skyview lost some players, and Lewis said her ability to play the position has made a big difference for the Panthers.
Lewis also said Ginny Berg continued to make a difference in the match. He noted that while she was in the midfield, Wasilla didn't have any opportunities on net. As soon as she pushed forward, the Warriors had their two best chances.
"She makes a huge difference," Lewis said.
The Panthers will host Kenai in the regular-season finale Monday.
Skyview girls 4, Houston 0
The Panthers had been held scoreless in the previous three matches, so Lewis was pleased to see his team break out with some goals Saturday in the Region III, non-Southern Division match at Skyview.
Houston was guilty of an own goal just minutes into the match, the five minutes into the match Marina Holt scored on a cross from Amber Kunz.
Kunz and Nicole VanRyzin added scores in the second half for the Panthers.
"I think we're doing a much better job in the midfield of stringing passes together," Lewis said. "Now it's just a matter of finishing it off when those passes lead to opportunities on the goal."
Lewis said Kunz had a really good day Saturday setting up opportunities.
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