The Mariners boys and girls soccer team dominated Kenai Peninsula rival Nikiski for two shutouts at the first home game of the season last Thursday.
The Lady Mariners won 3-0 with a scoreless first half. Senior Hope Hudson scored the first goal to exploding cheers from the sidelines.
“We definitely did better in the second half,” said Hudson.
Teammate Maggie Koplin agreed. “We stepped it up. We had better passing and more communication,” said Koplin.
Junior Maddie Gerard put another point on the scoreboard with a penalty kick against the Bulldogs’ goalie. Sophomore Rachel Ellert finished it off with the third goal minutes before the game whistle, giving the Lady Mariners their second shutout game of the season.
Beating the Bulldogs was particularly exciting for the mature Lady Mariners who have a longstanding regional rivalry.
“The last two years Nikiski beat us in the Region qualifier game, so it feels great to win today,” said Hanna Mikois.
The victory was greatly welcomed after the girls 8-0 loss against Soldotna at last Tuesday’s away game.
The Mariner Men followed the Lady Mariners’ performance with another shutout, winning 1-0 to the Bulldogs. The rain, wind and team injuries didn’t stop the boys team from keeping the victories on home turf.
“We have a lot of injuries on the team, but we were able to push through and win,” said senior Peter Ellert.
The tight game was broken with sophomore Kenneth Schneider’s goal in the first half. The second half turned into an offensive game for the Mariner Men who made countless shots on goal.
“We played with a lot of possession — about 70/30. We are going in the right direction and there are a lot of guys stepping it up. It’s just unfortunate that we have a lot of guys out, but this game shows that we fought the adversity,” said senior Carson Duggar.
The offensive game was a relief for goalie Grant Arseneau, who enjoyed watching his team make solid plays from his goalie box.
“This game shows the potential this team has and the level we are playing at. I saw a lot of good passing and good opportunities for goals,” said Arseneau.
Arseneau and the Mariner Men had a challenging game against Soldotna last Tuesday with a 3-1 loss.
The action continues with home games this weekend, the teams taking on Palmer on Friday and Colony on Saturday. They travel across the Kenai Peninsula on Monday for a game against Seward.