It was a game that had everything. Goals, defensive play, nifty saves and a rivalry.
It also had sleet, hail, rain and a biting wind.
Playing through the worst Mother Nature could throw at them, including a downpour the entire second half, Colony defeated Region III rival Palmer 5-2 for the regional championship. Both teams will compete next week in the state tournament at Skyview.
Palmer struck first, getting a breakaway goal from Guido Moeller 27 minutes into the game. A minute later, Gabe Edwards tied the game with a goal through traffic in front of netminder Preston Carpenter.
The two teams stayed evenly matched for opportunities playing strong end-to-end ball for the first 40 minutes.
"The first half was exciting," said Palmer coach Don Berberich.
Colony dominated the second half, capitalizing on defensive errors and taking advantage of Palmer's poor footing on the slick field.
"We just had some defensive mistakes," Berberich said.
Felipe Rosa, Edwards, Nathan Chud and Sean McDowell scored for the Knights. Dustin Richmond added a goal for the Moose with two minutes remaining.
Berberich said the Moose's game plan centered on short passes. He also said he saw improvements over the last time Palmer played -- and lost to -- Colony.
"We made it to halftime this time -- and then some," he said.
Berberich said he is happy with the season, regardless of how his team does at the state tournament next weekend.
"We get to play soccer a little longer," he said. "There's no way to have a losing season (now)."
Colony also placed the most players on the All-Region team. Knights so honored were McDowell, Rosa, Chud, Edwards, Cory Creighton and Garen Bishop.
Other members of the All-Region team were Moeller and Travis Rapp from Palmer, Chris Hodel and Dorian Heatherly from Skyview, Kenai's Sean Nuccio, Soldotna's Lucas Petersen and Homer's Kyle Hofseth.
Chud also was named Most Valuable Player for the year. Soldotna's John Bramante was named coach of the year.
Also honored were a good sport team, voted on before the tournament. It's members include Colony's Kit Pace, Kenai's Richard Alexander, Homer's Corey Brandel, Wasilla's Chris Cunningham, Skyview's Leon Galbraith and Palmer's John Kaster.
Second team All-Region also was named. Colony was represented by Pace and Jason Deml. Homer placed Brandel, Brian Craine and Bo Calhoun. Kenai's Joel Reemtsma, Greg Landua, J. D. Pault and Richard Alexander were named. Brian Wheeler, Matt Yoder, Kurtis Arcala and Prestin Carpenter from Palmer earned second-team honors. Wasilla's Chad Rigdon, Skyview's Dan Rich and Nikiski's Jamie Queen rounded out the team.
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