• Boys play Kenai to scoreless tie, girls struggle in 0-5 loss
By Sean Pearson
Thanks to a couple of amazing saves by Mariner goalie Drew Brown, the Homer soccer team limped away with a 0-0 tie against the Kenai Kardinals on Monday.
The M’s got off to a good start, out-hustling Kenai and keeping possession of the ball through much of the first half. Unfortunately, Homer’s good conditioning, strong passing and deft ball-handling didn’t amount to many shots on goal.
“We played a good, fast-paced game, but just didn’t get enough shots off,” said team captain Konstantin Reutov. “We are playing well together, but we really need to score.”
Senior Connor McCarron agreed.
“We had some good chances where we should have scored,” he said. “If we can just keep taking decent shots, some will eventually start going in.”
Like many spring athletes, the soccer boys have struggled to keep players free from injury. Junior standout Quinn Daugharty re-injured his back, and senior Ethan Kizzia injured his foot in a game against SoHi. Two players have already suffered from concussions.
“Unfortunately, we’ve had a lot of injuries to some key players this season,” McCarron said. “We try to get tons of rest, drink a lot of water and treat even small injuries right away so they don’t get worse.”
McCarron added that getting goalkeeper Brown back is a definite plus for the M’s.
“We need everybody this year,” he said. “We just can’t afford to lose any more.”
Lady M’s lose steam
The Lady Mariners opened Monday’s game with a vengeance and determination that looked virtually unstoppable.
Unfortunately, it didn’t last.
“We started off really tough against Kenai, holding them scoreless in the first half,” said junior Maggie Koplin. “I don’t really know what happened in the second half. After they scored their second goal, we just kind of fell apart. We definitely got out-hustled.”
As Homer crumbled, the Lady Kardinals scored three more goals, finishing the conference game with a 5-0 win over the Lady M’s.
“Kenai just took possession of the game and we couldn’t move forward,” Koplin said. “They are definitely a very strong team and have well-developed skills.”
The Lady Mariner team is also fighting the injury bug, with almost everyone on the team dealing with some kind of injury or illness.
“It’s hard to stay healthy with such a short season and not many breaks between games,” Koplin said. “We have a senior starter out with an injury and our starting goalie has a torn meniscus.”
Koplin doesn’t see the cold weather as too much of a threat, however.
“It may seem cold, but we’re working up a sweat running around out there,” she said. “I’m really impressed with the team’s progress so far this season. We’ve come a long way — even since last year.”
The fall to Kenai is only the Lady Mariners’ second loss of the season, and Koplin said they are only getting better.
“We’re becoming so much more competitive and moving up to a higher level of play,” she said. “It’s great to see — and winning is a nice change, too.”
The teams travel to Soldotna today to take on the Skyview Panthers. They host Palmer and Colony on Friday and Saturday.
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