The Soldotna High School girls soccer team was the only squad from the the Southern Division to make it our of the first round of this weekend's Region III Soccer Championships at Palmer High School.
The Stars defeated Grace Christian 2-1 in the first round Friday morning, avenging an early-season loss to the Grizzlies.
But Soldotna lost to host Palmer 3-1 in the semifinals Friday night, and missed out on a berth in next week's state championships after losing 4-1 to Wasilla in Saturday's third-place match.
The Valley sweep of the top three region tournament places marks the first time a Kenai Peninsula squad will not make the trip to the state championships in the four-year history of the tournament.
The Stars did garner some individual honors as Jennifer Senette was named the Region III MVP. Senette and teammate Erin Wolfe were named to the all-region first team, as was Skyview's Anne Verba and Kenai's Janna Krein.
Skyview's Trevor Barber, Mike Sturm and Matt Stalnik, Kenai's Micah Lillard, Soldotna's Peter Kim and Homer's Van Hawkins represent the peninsula boys on the all-region first team.
The Colony girls took the Region III title, defeating Palmer 2-1 in the championship match.
The Colony boys also notched a region title, defeating Wasilla 2-0 in the final. Grace Christian took third place with a 2-0 win over Palmer.
In other girls first-round matches, Palmer beat Homer 2-1, Colony defeated Skyview 4-2 and Wasilla beat Kenai 3-2.
The tournament is single-elimination in the opening round.
"We had lots of good opportunities," Kenai girls coach Dan Verkuilen said. "The girls played their hearts out."
The Warriors got on the scoreboard first, netting two goals early in the first half. The Kardinals answered with a Keeley Boyle breakaway score.
At the beginning of the second half, Boyle put in another goal, but Verkuilen said his team was unable to even up the game as Kenai made multiple unsuccessful shots on goal.
In boys opening-round action, Grace edged Homer 5-4, Wasilla defeated Soldotna 4-2, Palmer downed Kenai 3-1 and Colony defeated the Southern Division's top-seeded Skyview Panthers 1-0.
"We went 0-for-the peninsula," said Kenai boys coach David Landry. "(My team) played like a team that had just gotten off a bus after leaving at 6 a.m. the morning after a graduation.
"The guys came out flat. There was an awful lot of effort, but not a lot of energy."
Jacob Madrid scored the Kardinals lone goal, assisted by Dan Silver.
"The boys never gave up, but we certainly didn't want to be losing that first one," Landry said.
Peninsula Clarion ©2015. All Rights Reserved.