The dark clouds, rain and hail that plagued Homer last week held off just enough for two soccer games against Ketchikan last Friday. The stormy weather struggling to break through seemed to mirror the way both Homer teams have struggled to reach their full potential so far this season.
The boys team has been plagued by injury and illness from the start, with a smaller-than-normal roster. Friday’s game saw Daniel Reutov back in action for the first time in a week and a half since he injured an ankle. He went in the goal to cover for Homer goalie Tucker Weston, but broke a pinky, taking Charles Rohr, a major power player for the Mariners, off the field and into the goal.
Ketchikan beat the boys 1-0, with the one goal scored by Mark Jasper.
Ketchikan is not in the Peninsula Conference and so the games had no weight on the Homer teams’ standing, but both coaches indicated their teams are not where they want them to be.
Warren Waldorf, head coach for the boys, said that at this point in the season, it’s a bit late to be working on getting a full team on the field each game.
“I think we’re playing about as well as we can play.” he said. “We had some chances, and we didn’t finish, so we didn’t find a way today.”
The Homer girls also lost their battle to Ketchikan, falling 2-1.
Senior Raisa Basargin notched Homer’s goal around 35 minutes into the first half, which left Homer leading as the second half began.
Ketchikan answered with a goal from Farren Linne three minutes into the second half, and another by Olivia Kinunen with just a minute or so left on the clock. It was Ketchikan’s first win of the season, said coach Neil Kinunen.
“We’ve played them several times over the years, and it’s always been really evenly matched games,” he said of Homer. “They’re good competition.”
Kinunen said Homer was the aggressor in the first 20 minutes or so of the game, so he had his team make an adjustment in the second half that he said contributed to the win.
Homer coach Mike Tozzo said his players continue to struggle with scoring and keeping possession of the ball. He attributed some of the issues the team has faced to something he can’t necessarily teach.
“I feel one of the aspects from this team that’s really lacking is a will to just have the ball, win the ball, and then put that ball in the back of the net,” Tozzo said. “… You have to decide that you want it. It comes from the inside, you know? It’s like an animalistic feature of people that naturally in athletics and competition, you’re not going to let anybody else be better than you. And I feel like sometimes we kind of play on the opposite end of that, where we’re having a good time, which is fine … but at the same time there has to be some level of … desire to produce results.”
Both teams were preparing to their games against Kenai Central High School on Tuesday. The boys tied 1-1, while the girls lost to Kenai 2-1. Read the story by the Peninsula Clarion’s Joey Klecka on that action on page 11.