Homer High School’s varsity soccer teams played home games against Nikiski and Soldotna High School, with the boys and girls each earning a win and a loss.
Both teams rose up against Nikiski on April 14 and kicked off the weekend with victories. Girls won 4-0, while boys won 4-1. However, the April 19 games against Soldotna ended with a 3-0 loss for Homer girls and a 2-1 loss for Homer boys.
Homer’s game against Soldotna on April 19 was their first and only for the season, and therefore the outcome counts toward conference records, said boys soccer head coach Warren Waldorf.
Varsity boys and girls teams travel to Kodiak for back-to-back games on Friday at 5 and 7 p.m. and Saturday at 3 and 5 p.m.
Homer girls vs. Soldotna, 3-0
Homer girls kept Soldotna out of their net for the first 24 minutes of the game while playing a high-energy game of tug-of-war with the ball across the field. Though Homer shot on Soldotna as well, none of the balls sunk.
“We came out with a particular game plan and we stuck to that game plan and we played hard and the first 75 percent of the first half was beautiful soccer,” said girls soccer head coach Mike Tozzo. “I don’t have any doubt in my mind that by the end of the season, we’ll be a much better team than what we saw today because the girls work hard and we improve everyday and that’s what we’re after.”
Soldotna’s second goal didn’t land in Homer’s goal until 12 minutes into the second half, however, one more followed 15 minutes later, spelling a shutout for Homer. Homer’s energy lulled in the middle of the game, making it difficult to catch up.
Goalie Sam Draves made several saves throughout the game, preventing a higher score on Soldotna’s part while nearly receiving a cleat to the face on multiple occasions as she dove for the ball.
Homer boys vs. Soldotna, 2-1
Homer’s sole goal in their game against Soldotna was sunk by Homer Flex student Nouredine Mama, who ran up on the ball after defenders blocked sophomore Oliver Beck’s attempt.
“They were a little better than we were today and we only had 11 guys too,” said Waldorf. “They seem to have the upper hand in the second half though. Gotta give them credit for that, right?”
Despite the loss, the Homer boys kept up with Soldotna in the first half, answering Soldotna’s first goal with their own shortly after. Homer took several shots on goal throughout the game.
“We weren’t quite on, but that happens every once in awhile and we’re going to get back on as soon as we can,” said senior Danny Wiest. “The other team was playing really well and pressuring hard. We weren’t making the best decisions we could have and we gave them too much space sometimes, checked in too close to them so we couldn’t get the ball around.”
Homer girls vs. Nikiski, 4-0
Homer girls shut out Nikiski in a four-point game, building up the team’s confidence with a home turf win.
“I felt like we played really confident as a team and … even when we put our players
that weren’t starters out there, we didn’t let down so they didn’t score on us or anything like that. So that was pretty cool to see,” said Rachel Ellert.
Though the team picked up a win, they still have a lot to work on, Tozzo said. However, the players’ increased number of shots on goal, with 14 just in the first half, was an improvement.
Ellert scored the first and third goals of the game. Sofia Clark and Megan Pitzman each scored one.
Homer boys vs. Nikiski, 4-1
Homer boys celebrated a home victory, though Waldorf also noted that the team is still working on playing together cohesively. The team is improving compared to their first couple games, said sophomore Charles Rohr.
“I thought we played really well compared to how we played against Eagle River,” Rohr said. “I thought our passing was much better than previous games and we played a lot more possession instead of just kicking around, which in my mind was a step up for the team and for the boys.”