The Nikiski boys soccer team defeated host Skyview 8-1 on Monday to remain on top of the Northern Lights Conference Southern Division.
The Bulldogs are now 5-2-2 overall and 2-0-1 in the league. If they win on Saturday at Seward, they will clinch the No. 1 seed to the conference tournament for the first time in school history. Skyview falls to 0-6 overall and 0-5 in the league and will not play at the conference tourney.
"It's really cool, especially for the seniors," Nikiski coach Jim Coburn said of the chance to finish first in the division.
Tyler Peek had a hat trick for the Bulldogs, while Stefan Krogseng added a pair of goals and Bob Seater had a pair of assists. Also scoring for the Bulldogs were Camron Lotti, Kovy Harbick and Jayden Tumbaga.
"I think their kids played hard and never gave up," Coburn said of the Panthers. "They just don't have enough skill yet."
Coburn said the game was a great chance to get some of his bench players some experience.
"We need more bodies for regions," he said. "We need more depth to do well against teams like Colony and Wasilla."
TJ Checketts found the back of the net for the Panthers. Skyview coach Rustin Hitchcock also said Bryce Wilson played well in goal and Kalub Winslow was solid at midfield.
The Skyview boys play Ketchikan on Thursday at 6 p.m. The Nikiski boys are at Seward on Saturday.
Nikiski girls 3, Skyview 2
The visiting Bulldogs put themselves in a great position to earn the No. 3 seed in the Southern Division.
Nikiski is now 1-2-1 in the Southern Division and 3-5-2 overall. The Bulldogs' remaining game is against Seward on Saturday, but the Seahawks have had trouble fielding a full team all year and have been forfeiting games. A 2-2-1 record would give Nikiski a great chance at the No. 3 seed.
Alicia West started the scoring for Skyview, which finishes 2-3 in the Southern Division and will clinch a trip to the conference tournament if Soldotna beats Homer on Thursday.
Nikiski's Hillary Bogard came off the bench to tie the game, but Megan Janorschke drove home a penalty kick to give the Panthers a 2-1 lead at the half.
"The players were well-matched," said Nikiski coach Mandy Adair. "They scored first, but we kept coming back."
The Bulldogs were able to come back due to corner kicks. Logan Tuttle hit a corner to Britany Tuttle, who tied the game with a full volley. Then, Logan Tuttle hit a corner to Britany Tuttle, who scored on a header.
"It was a great game," Skyview coach David Carpenter said. "It was really evenly matched. They just did really well with their corner kicks."
Adair said her squad received a big boost from Koey Dixon, who came off the bench to play midfield.
Carpenter said Rebecca Egan was solid in goal, and Tamlyn Silva played great on defense after learning a lot during an earlier loss to Soldotna. The Skyview girls play Ketchikan on Thursday at 4 p.m.
Soldotna girls 5, Kenai Central 0
The Soldotna girls wrapped up the No. 1 seed from the Southern Division by defeating the visiting Kardinals on Monday.
The Stars received two goals from Casey Coupchiak, as well as tallies from Shana Powell, Emily Rohloff and Kaili Sholin. Soldotna is now 5-1-1 and 4-0 and plays Homer on Thursday at 3:30 p.m.
"It means a lot," Soldotna coach Mike Tovoli said. "One of our goals this year was to claim the No. 1 seed and to be on a roll going into the region tournament."
Tovoli said Jenna Redford and freshman Heidi Westerman combined on the shutout in goal.
"They graduated a lot last year," Tovoli said of the Kardinals. "That group has come a long way in a short season, though."
Kenai coach Dan Verkuilen, whose team is 5-3 and 3-1 and hosts Seward on Friday at 4 p.m. and Ketchikan Saturday at 10 a.m., said his team usually has trouble adjusting to Soldotna's smaller field.
"They definitely outplayed us," Verkuilen said. "Soldotna has really aggressive players that beat us to the ball 80 percent of the time."
Verkuilen said Taylor Ostrander played well at midfield and forward. He said Allie McGahan played well at center midfield, and said Kenai's defense did a good job of trying to keep the ball out of dangerous spots.
Soldotna boys 3, Kenai Central 1
The host Stars notched a victory over the rival Kardinals on Monday in Northern Lights Conference action.
Soldotna moves to 6-2 overall and 3-1 in the Southern Division. Kenai drops to 2-3-2 overall and 2-1-1 in the Southern Division.
"We've been in much more stressful games with Kenai," Soldotna coach Jeff Siemers said. "For much of the game, we had a two-goal lead. That helped the guys keep cool the whole game."
In the 15th minute, Dalton Pearson scored off of a rebound after a shot by Daniel Koch. In the 24th minute, Blaine Carver made the score 2-0 with a penalty kick.
"They had control of the majority of the play in the first half," Kenai coach David Landry said. "There were two momentary lapses that cost us on defense."
Landry said his team came out and did a much better job of controlling play in the second half. In the 69th minute, Dom Eubank scored in a scramble in front of the net.
Two minutes later, Robbie Smithwick sucked a lot of drama out of the game by ripping a shot into the goal.
"I think we were a bit unlucky at times, but it wasn't for lack of effort," Landry said. "Sometimes you can be unlucky and not get rewarded for effort. I'm hoping we're getting all that behind us before the region championships."
Siemers said Carver and Smithwick played well at striker. He also said Pearson played well at defense.
Landry said AJ Ewing, Nick Rouswell and Logan Sutton played well on defense. He also said Justin Calhoun and Avery Palchnikoff were those most responsible for Kenai's better play in the midfield in the second half.
The Soldotna boys host Homer on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. A win means the Stars clinch the No. 2 seed. They need Nikiski to lose to Seward to get the No. 1 seed. The Kenai boys host Seward on Friday at 6 p.m. and Ketchikan on Saturday at noon.
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