David Carpenter's frustration finally boiled over.
The Skyview girls soccer coach had seen enough lethargic play in the 46th minute of a 2-1 Northern Lights Conference loss at Nikiski on Tuesday, so he summoned nine subs to enter the game.
As the players waited at midfield for the first whistle, Skyview's Nicole Tromblee was taken down in the box and scored the penalty kick to make it 2-1.
Then the nine subs stepped onto the pitch.
"Needed to send a message," Carpenter said of the move, which resulted in all but two of his starters going to the bench. "They were flat."
The mass substitution didn't last long -- the same crew walked off the field together in the 50th minute -- and it didn't yield better results, either. Nikiski had built a 2-0 lead on a pair of Britany Tuttle first-half goals and held on after Tromblee's score.
With the win, the Bulldogs moved into a tie with Seward for fourth place in the NLC Southern Division at 1-2-1. Nikiski hosts Seward in the final divisional game for both squads at 11 a.m. Saturday and would move into third with a win.
Skyview, which has finished its division schedule, is clinging to third at 1-2-2.
"This was huge," Nikiski coach Mandy Adair said. "We came in knowing we had to have this game and show the division that we can be a good soccer team. Hopefully we can keep the ball rolling."
On a blustery afternoon, the Bulldogs had the wind at their backs for the opening 40 minutes.
Tuttle's first goal came in the 28th minute when Skyview's Chelsea Winter lost her footing in a race for the ball at the top of the box. Tuttle, a senior, secured possession and drilled a shot past Panthers keeper Amanda McDowell.
Less than a minute before halftime, Tuttle tucked a right-to-left screamer inside the far post past a diving McDowell to give Nikiski a 2-0 lead.
Adair said Tuttle deserved the goals because the forward has endured a slew of near misses.
"She's been so close," the coach said. "The past couple games, she's been knocking on the door."
The Panthers failed to carry the momentum of a Friday victory against Palmer and a Saturday close loss to Colony into Tuesday's match.
"They chose exactly the wrong game to not show up," Carpenter said, adding Nikiski was faster up front and beat Skyview to too many 50-50 balls. "It's a big loss."
Nikiski hosts Homer in a friendly match at 5 p.m. Friday. Skyview hosts Ketchikan in nonconference action at 4 p.m. today.
Nikiski boys 9, Skyview 1
Eight different players scored and the host Bulldogs extended the Panthers' season-long losing streak with an easy Northern Lights Conference victory Tuesday.
Nikiski improved to 2-2 in the NLC Southern Division and would clinch third place with a win against Seward on Saturday. Homer (4-0) holds first, Soldotna (3-1) second and Kenai Central (3-2) third. The Bulldogs own a tiebreaker over the Kards by virtue of a head-to-head win.
"It would be nice for the seniors to beat Seward and get into regions as a No. 3 seed," Nikiski coach Jim Coburn said.
Tuesday's game was never in doubt after Nikiski scored twice in the first eight minutes.
Logan Harrison made it 1-0 in the second minute, and Nathan Stangel bumped the lead to 2-0 six minutes later on a liner from the right wing. Ari Bennett and Sam Taylor scored in a span of six minutes following halftime before Coburn emptied his bench in the 52nd minute with the score 6-0.
Nikiski goalkeeper Kaden Spurgeon made it 7-0 when he was selected to take a penalty kick in the 65th minute, receiving an ovation from his teammates as a sparse crowd chanted his name.
Skyview's lone strike came on a Sam Janorschke penalty kick in the 70th minute. Nikiski's Jacob Pass scored twice over the final six minutes.
"Their kids never gave up," Coburn said of Skyview, which dropped to 0-5-0 in the division. "They kept fighting. I don't know what more to say."
Homer boys 4, Seward 0
The Mariners defeated the Seahawks for a Northern Lights Conference victory at Seward on Tuesday.
Homer is 4-0-0 in the NLC Southern Division and faces Soldotna (3-1-0) for the regular-season championship at 6 p.m. today.
Homer girls 3, Seward 0
The host Mariners earned a shutout in Northern Lights Conference action Tuesday.
Seward is 1-2-1 in the NLC Southern Division and visits Nikiski, which has an identical record, at 11 a.m. Saturday.
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