Mariner fans were bundled up in the bleachers but the Homer boys brought the heat against Nikiski for their first home soccer game of the season. The Mariners dominated for the duration of the game, giving away only a couple goals to Nikiski in the second half. Homer won with a final score of 6-2.
“I’m really happy excited and satisfied how things went,” said Head Coach Warren Waldorf. “We did everything we set out to do and it was a good omen for the rest of the season. We should be able to be competitive.”
The Mariners maintained heavy offensive pressure against Nikiski defense in the first half of the game, which Waldorf described as a “blow out.” The starting lineup included three freshmen players, Charlie Rohr, Oliver Beck and Simon Dye.
Homer maintained constant authority over the ball and the first three goals were scored by seniors Filip Reutov, Drew Brown and Kenneth Schneider. Dye increased the lead with a fourth goal from an assisted cross by Schneider.
“We had the wind at our back for the second half and I had a lot more leeway to let everybody else who was sitting on bench play,” Waldorf said. He rotated 16 different players in the later half of the game, compared to 12 different players the first half.
The level of physical aggressiveness was high and several players from both teams were subbed out due to injury, including Mariners Flynn Bloom, Brown, Reutov and Schneider.
In the second half of the game Homer managed to get two more goals in, one scored by Rohr, and the other by freshman Charlie Menke. Goalie and senior Eric Hill, actively defended the net, but Nikiski took advantage of Homer’s defensive mistakes and managed to score two goals.
Homer High alumni Ben Daigle has been helping train Hill and sophomore JV goalie Kenny Cortez. This is Hill’s first soccer season since middle school and first time in the net.
“We’re excited how quickly Eric has come along, “ said Waldorf.
With 21 training sessions on the turf, Waldorf said the boys are used to the new field.
“We’re videotaping the games for the first time,” said Waldorf. “I’m hoping to use it to help the kids play better.”
Today, the Mariners will travel to Soldotna High School to play in the SoHi Jamboree, and will compete in four games each lasting 30 minutes.
“We’ll take all the eligible players to the Jamboree and I hope to get them all playing.
He said the team will focus on resting before the then, and predicts they will compete against Seward, Soldotna, Kenai, and then Nikiski.
Homer will host games against Soldotna High School April 21 at 4 p.m., Wasilla on April 24 at 6 p.m. and Eagle River on April 25 at 1 p.m.