Kenai soccer tunes up for NLC tourney

Posted: Sunday, May 16, 2010

Oliver Kiech and Avery Palchikoff each had a pair of goals to lift host Kenai Central to a 6-1 Northern Lights Conference Southern Division win over Seward on Friday. The Kardinals improve to 3-1-1 in the division and 3-3-2 overall.

"We did everything that we had to do," Kards head coach David Landry said. "We'll take the W."

Kiech netted a goal in the eighth minute to start the scoring. Dom Eubank had the assist. Michael Morin gave Kenai a 2-0 lead in the 29th minute. The Kards held a two-goal cushion at the half.

Kiech scored his second of the game in the 42nd minute to begin the second half. Eubank scored four minutes later. He buried a rebound after Seward's keeper stopped a shot by Kiech.

Palchikoff scored back-to-back goals six minutes apart to round out the scoring. His first came in the 59th minute. Eubank put a shot on net, which the keeper blocked. Palchikoff jammed home the rebound for a 5-0 lead. He then nailed a left-footer in the back of the net in the 65th minute.

Seward's Sammy Pfluger scored the Seahawks' lone goal just before the referee whistled the end of the second half.

Landry said the game gave him a chance to play some of his younger players. With so many seniors on the team, varsity experience for the young teammates is vital for next season, he said.

Landry said his team needs some work on controlling the ball with their first touches and finishing when given the opportunity.

Despite having just 11 players, Seward continued to play hard the entire game, Landry said.

Kenai Central girls 9, Seward 0

Since Seward had just nine players, Kenai used Friday's nine-on-nine scrimmage as a chance to prepare for the Northern Lights Conference tournament.

The fields at the Kenai Sports Complex, the site of next week's NLC tournament, are larger than Kenai's playing surface. Using fewer players on Friday allowed the team to practice playing on a bigger field, Kards head coach Dan Verkuilen said.

"It was nice to see them settle down and pass the ball," he said.

Eight different players tallied goals for Kenai. Vanessa Anderson had two. Taylor Ostrander, Taylor Matson, Cassie Ross, Ericka Reynolds, Lauren Schams, Molly Graves and Allie McGahan also scored.

Fifteen out of Kenai's 22 girls on the varsity roster are freshmen and sophomores. Verkuilen said he's seen his team improve with every game.

Kenai Central girls 3, Ketchikan 0

The host Kardinals had a successful sendoff for their seniors on Saturday against nonconference foe Ketchikan.

"I appreciated the seniors and the parents support," Kenai coach Dan Verkuilen said. "It's been a fun year. The kids have wanted to learn. You know they will progress when their heads and hearts are in the right place."

Kenai finished 7-3 overall and will be the No. 2 seed from the Northern Lights Conference Southern Division. The seniors honored were Molly Copple, Molly Graves, Anna Jumtina, Deandra Latz and Taylor Matson.

Verkuilen said his team was on the attack in the first half, but could not score. Meanwhile, he said Ketchikan only had about two shots on goal all game.

In the 53rd minute, Lauren Schams played a cross into the box. After a scramble, Matson scored.

In the 70th minute, Matson scored off a through ball. In the 73rd minute, Allie McGahan hit a volley into the upper right-hand corner of the goal that Verkuilen called the prettiest goal of the year.

The coach said Calhoun created a lot of chances from left wing, while Matson and McGahan played a disciplined game from midfield.

Ketchikan boys 2, Kenai Central 1

The Kings overcame an early deficit to defeat host Kenai in nonconference play on Saturday.

In the fourth minute, Kenai's Oliver Kiech scored on a volley, but five minutes later Ketchikan came back to equalize. The game winner for the Kings came in the 23rd minute.

Kenai coach David Landry said in the first half, both teams shared an equal amount of the play.

"In the second half, we competed better for the ball," he said. "We never were able to get anything substantial on goal."

Landry also said Justin Calhoun played well up front, and Nick Rouswell played well both at defense and in the midfield.

"Our boys need to pull it together emotionally, physically and mentally in order to try and make a run at regions," Landry said.

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