Nikiski boys, girls finish soccer season on high note as teams look to regions

Posted: Sunday, May 11, 2003

The Nikiski High School soccer teams wrapped up the regular on a high note, defeating the visiting Ketchikan Kings in a pair of nonregion matches Friday in Nikiski.

The Nikiski girls made it two in a row with the win, taking the Kings 2-0 after defeating Seward 3-1 a day earlier.

The Nikiski boys defeated the Kings 3-0, but now must wait until Monday to find out if their season is done or if they'll be lucky enough to go to the Region III tournament.

The Nikiski boys, 4-5-2 overall and 1-3-1 in Region III-Southern Division play, are tied with Soldotna for the fourth and final region tournament berth from the division. Because the teams tied when they played head-to-head and they have matching records against nondivision opponents, a coin will be flipped Monday to determine which team will advance.

Nikiski boys coach James Coburn said both he and Soldotna coach Jeff Siemers liked the idea of playing one more game to break the tie, but were required to stick to the region's bylaws regarding tournament qualification thus the coin flip.

Still, Coburn said the Bulldogs finished with their best soccer of the season.

"As always, it seems like out team comes together at the end of the season. I'm just hoping we get the chance to go on," Coburn said. "The guys played really well (Friday). If we had played that well all season, we wouldn't have had to worry about a coin flip Monday."

Both Ketchikan and Nikiski had some good chances early in the match, and Bulldogs goalkeeper Josh Winters was called on to make his most difficult save of the evening, diving to his left to stop a Ketchikan shot labeled for the far post.

Nikiski also had a couple of near misses in the early going before Robert Doty scored in the 20th minute. Leading a two-on-one break, Doty attempted a centering pass. While the Ketchikan keeper was caught too far off his line, a defender was able to scramble back to knock the pass away. The ball, however, went right back to Doty, who put it into the open net.

John Rooper made it 2-0 eight minutes later, taking a wide-angle shot that deflected off a Ketchikan defender and into the net.

The Kings played the Bulldogs even through most of the second half, but Nikiski added one more goal with eight minutes left in the match. Joey Wicker chipped the ball over the Ketchikan defense and into the Kings penalty area, where Travis McGahan got a touch on the ball before Nick Russell was able to tuck it home.

"We've had a rough past couple of weeks, but we're playing awesome now," Wicker said. "We're talking, playing together, making our passes. We have a lot of good communication going on, especially with our forwards, Nick Russell and Jeremiah Taylor they made a lot of nice runs. And our defense and our keep they made a lot of nice stops tonight."

Nikiski girls 2, Ketchikan 0

Hisa Miyara scored both goals and Sarah Herrin recorded the shutout as the Bulldogs finished their season on an up note.

With a young squad, Bulldogs coach Richard Kelso said things look bright for next season.

"I though we played really good. It's a very good note to end on," Kelso said.

Miyara also scored a goal in Thursday's game against Seward, while Rainy Reilly tallied twice for the Bulldogs.

Miyara, a foreign exchange student from Japan, said she hadn't played soccer before, but Kelso has been impressed with her skill all season.

Miyara said she was surprised to have become a goalscorer, and attributed her feats to good communication with her teammates.

"Every teammate tells me which way I should go. (I say) Help me,'" Miyara said. "It was fun. (As for scoring goals,) I was lucky."

Kelso was impressed with Reilly's work in the midfield as well as Krystal Gladden's effort keeping the defense organized from her sweeper position.

"Our passing and our defense got better all the stuff we've worked on in practice," Kelso said. "... I'm very pleased, actually. It's very encouraging."

Kenai girls 7, Ketchikan 1

The Kenai Central girls finished off their regular season schedule with a nondivision win over Ketchikan in Kenai Saturday.

On Friday, the Kardinals received a win by forfeit over the Seward Seahawks in a Region III-Southern Division match as rainy weather made Seward's field unplayable, and the Seahawks chose not to reschedule or move the match.

In Saturday's match, the Kardinals got multiple goals from Keeley Boyle, as well as tallies from Katie Burck, Jennifer Hancock, Rachel Knowles and Chelsie Harris.

Kenai coach Dan Verkuilen also liked the way Haley Wisniewski and Letecia Haynes carried the ball forward from their defensive positions, and said Rochelle Stretch and Haley Mishler did a nice job crossing the ball.

"It was a good game. We got to get everybody in, and it was a good chance to get a lot of scoring opportunities," Verkuilen said.

Kenai boys 2, Ketchikan 1

The Kardinals finished off the regular season with a nice win over the Kings Saturday in Kenai.

"It was a fairly clean game," said Kenai coach David Landry. "It was a lot of fun. It was your typical friendly, where you can get everybody into the game."

Grant Wisniewski was credited with the first goal of the match, tallying for the Kardinals out of a scrum in front of the Ketchikan net just two minutes into the match.

Landry said playing into a stiff wind through the first half made things difficult, and the Kardinals their second goal early in the second half with the wind at their backs.

Jacob DeClouet notch the goal from 18 yards out, driving home a throw-in from Cory Janson 11 minutes into the half.

Ketchikan scored with seven minutes left to play.

Landry said the Kings had several other good chances, grazing the Kenai goalposts, but said that Kardinals keeper Tyler Morris played a solid game.

Landry said he was thrilled with his team's progress after a slow start.

"We talk all year about building to regions," Landry said. "To start 0-3 and finish 5-0-1 (in our last six games), I'm really pleased about that. ... The boys just seem to find a way to do it."

Colony girls 3, Homer 0

The Mariners were defeated in a nondivision Region III match Friday at Colony.

The Knights got goals from Kristina Klapperich, Sianna Garrod and Teresa Hill.

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