The Kenai Central High School girls soccer team got itself back on target Monday, pumping in six goals while holding host Skyview to two in a Region III Southern Division match.
The Skyview high school boys, meanwhile, found themselves a bit off target, but still managed to hang on for a 1-0 win over the Kardinals.
"We had a good game. We controlled the midfield well, we just couldn't finish," said Skyview's Chatchay Apaipak. "Hopefully, we can finish Friday (in the region tournament)."
Indeed, the Panthers were able to move the ball well through the midfield to create opportunity after opportunity in front of the Kenai goal.
However, the Panthers only capitalized on one of them, that coming in the opening minutes of the match when Tyler Thornton found the back of the net off an assist from Kyle Eshleman after a nice throw-in by Travis Mercier.
That would be all Skyview's frontrunners would get as shots sailed wide of the net or were gobbled up by Kenai goalkeeper Tyler Morris.
The Panthers also at times struggled to get shots off, or failed to connect on well-played crosses in front of the goal.
"Hopefully, we got it out of our system," said Skyview coach Dave Carpenter.
With Skyview unable to put the match away, Kenai was able to counter from time to time and had several great bids to tie the match in the second half. The best of those chances game with about 15 minutes left to play when Geoffrey Gemmell took a crack at goal from the top of the penalty area. Gemmell's shot was labeled for the lower left corner of the goal, by Skyview goalkeeper Matt Stalnick made a diving save to knock the ball wide of the net.
"That's the story of our year," said Kenai coach David Landry of the Kardinals hard luck in the win column. "I think the boys played their best game today.
"Geoffrey Gemmell had three brilliant chances. With a little bit of luck, one of those would go."
The Kenai girls were able to get some goals to go, rebounding from a tough loss against Soldotna last week.
"It was a matter of proving to ourselves again that we could move the ball and put some shots on net," said Kenai girls coach Dan Verkuilen.
The Kardinals got goals from five different players, including two from Rochelle Stretch, though the match was back-and-forth through the first half.
Kenai opened the match with heavy pressure at the Skyview end of the field, culminating with a goal by Laura Moore set up when Kenai defender Heather McIntyre sent a goalie punt right back down the field.
Skyview tied it up 10 minutes later after being able to win some balls and push forward. Amber Kunz got the goal, knocking in a ball played on the ground in front of the goal.
Kenai regained the lead on a very nice shot by Stretch in the 25th minute, but the Panthers matched it with a goal from Nicole Van Ryzin in the 31st minute.
The Kardinals marched right back down the field, though, and Keeley Boyle gave Kenai the lead for good just a minute later, tucking her shot neatly inside the post.
The Panthers opened the second half with a couple of excellent chances, but Kenai goalkeeper Whitney Ischi made an excellent save to keep her side ahead, and Taylor Brewer, Stretch and Samantha Calderwood added goals to steal the rest of Skyview's momentum.
"I think we just wanted it," Boyle said of Kenai's bundle of goals. "We've been capable of doing all these things all along. We just woke up and wanted it."
Skyview coach Tony Lewis said he was happy to see his team pushing the ball forward looking to score, something that made the game exciting.
"It was an up-and-down game," Lewis said. "I'd rather lose 6-2 and have good opportunities on goal than just sit back and play defense."
The Skyview boys and girls and the Kenai girls advance to the region tournament which begins Friday at Kenai.
Peninsula Clarion ©2013. All Rights Reserved.