The Skyview boys soccer team rested soundly and easily Friday night.
The Panthers earned their second straight trip to state Friday by beating Grace Christian 4-2, then topping Wasilla 2-1 in overtime in the Northern Lights Conference tournament at Colony High School.
"We're in and we're happy," Skyview coach Dave Carpenter said. "We'll get some sleep and get ready to go tomorrow. After today, I think we'll need it."
Skyview, the No. 1 seed from the Southern Division, fell behind Grace, the No. 4 seed from the Northern Division, 29 minutes into the game when Louie Karlberg scored.
"We came out a little bit flat," Carpenter said. "We started taking control and got our passing flow together."
In the 39th minute, Kyle Eshleman scored on an assist from Jason Smith. Two minutes later, Eshleman assisted a goal by Smith. Six minutes later, the Panthers had a 3-1 lead when Trevor Barber scored on an assist from Aaron Singleton.
When Skyview earned a penalty kick a short time later, Carpenter had his bench up and ready to go in hopes of getting his team some rest. A great save by the goalie on Barber's penalty kick and a goal by Grace's Elliott Gauthier erased any thoughts of rest.
Eshleman then put the game out of reach with a goal on an assist by Smith.
"When they made it 3-2, we were in panic mode a little bit," Carpenter said. "We were lucky to get back into that one."
In the semifinals against Wasilla, Skyview got on the board in the 39th minute when Eshleman ran onto a booming kick by goalie Matt Stalnik and scored.
With just minutes left, Wasilla's Vladimir Dahl hit a nice shot from just outside the penalty area to tie the game.
The teams were scoreless through two 10-minute overtime periods. They then played two five-minute periods where the game would end with the first goal.
Three minutes into the first five-minute period, Eshleman ended the game by putting in a rebound off his own shot.
Carpenter said stopper Buck Kunz went down with an injury in the first half of the Wasilla game. The coach said Richard Derkevorkian and Timmy Sturm did a great job filling in for Kunz.
Wasilla girls 1, Kenai Central 0
The Warriors, the No. 4 seed from the Northern Division, scored on a corner kick 10 minutes into the second half and made it stand up against the Kardinals, the No. 1 seed from the Southern Division.
Kenai Central coach Dan Verkuilen said his squad dominated the game, but that didn't keep Kenai's season from coming to an end.
"Basically, we controlled the game, but we couldn't put the ball in the net," Verkuilen said. "All the seniors played with a ton of heart.
"Everyone out there played great. The defense was right on. It was one of those games where we did really well but we couldn't put the ball in the net."
Colony girls 2, Nikiski 0
The Knights, the No. 2 seed from the Northern Division, scored two goals in the first half and made them stand up against the Bulldogs, the No. 3 seed from the Southern Division.
Nikiski coach Richard Kelso said the Knights got both of their goals right before the end of the first half. Kelso said the difference in the game was Colony made good on two scoring chances that weren't even that good, while the Bulldogs never could find the net.
"It was a great game from Nikiski playing very nice soccer, but we couldn't finish the goods," Kelso said.
Kelso said the loss to Colony did not take away from the season his squad had.
"The girls got better and better with each game," Kelso said. "There's plenty to be upbeat about to round off the season."
Kelso said Jackie Palm and Jenni Garrison played well in the midfield, while defenders Racheal Gerke, Teena Patterson and Krystal Gladden did a good job limiting Colony's chances. Finally, Kelso said Amber Delago and Amber Huhndorf created some good chances up front.
Palmer girls 4, Soldotna 0
Leslie Berberich scored three goals for Palmer, knocking the Stars out of the tournament in the opening round.
"It wasn't the way we would've liked to have gone out. Had we played a little better, it would have been easier to take," said Soldotna coach Jimmy Love. "I think everybody felt down about the way we went out."
Love noted he will have quite a few returning players next season and said he heard some talk on the long bus ride home about what they'd like to improve for next season.
"For the younger girls, I think it gives them an idea of the entirety of the season, and how quick you have to be on your A game to be a competitor in our division," Love said.
Love said he was pleased to connect with his team, "getting on the same page" over the course of the season something that can take longer than that for a new coach.
"It was a great season. We did a pretty good job. We could've done better, but you always could've done worse, too," said Love.
Wasilla boys 1, Kenai 0
The Warriors caught the Kardinals on their heels for just a moment in the 68th minute, springing Jordan Ingalls for a breakaway and the only goal of the match in a first-round elimination game.
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