Story last updated at 12:16 p.m. Thursday, May 2, 2002

Consistency eludes boys squad
by Sepp Jannotta
Staff Writer

The Homer High School boys soccer team had some bright moments during its first three games of the season last weekend, with a 5-2 win over Seward at home on Friday and two losses, 5-4 to visiting Grace Christian on Thursday and 4-1 to host Nikiski on Saturday.

Mariner coach Ed Kelly has seen the possibilities and they are what every soccer coach dreams of <> a team with the speed and ball skills to play a brisk, possession-oriented game, using ball movement to force a breakdown in the opponent's backfield.

Now it's just a matter of turning those possibilities into consistent wins on the soccer pitch.

"If we had played all three games at the level we played in the Seward game, we'd have won all three games," Kelly said. "There's a lot of skill there. We need to be sure that we use it for 80 minutes."

Llosh Winne netted a hat trick to power the Mariners' victory over Seward, with Wes Busby and Zefren Christianson adding goals as well.

Kelly was impressed by the play of midfielders Monte Garroutte, whom he called his "engine," and freshman Nate Riedel.

Against Grace, the Mariners climbed out of a 4-2 hole with eight minutes left as Winne scored a pair of goals less than three minutes apart, including the game-tying tally with under two minutes to play.

Unfortunately, the comeback was spoiled when Grace scored on the ensuing kickoff.

"We had our chances," Kelly said. "They managed to show the heart to battle back, but at that point they had a letdown in focus."

Kelly struggled to find the politically correct way to describe the Nikiski game, eventually saying that the Mariners hadn't shown up with their "'A' game."

"We came off the bus a little flat," he added.

Garroutte finally breathed a little life into the Mariners when he scored the lone Homer goal, beating Nikiski goalkeeper Josh Winters in the 22nd minute to make the score 2-1. But Winters stymied the Mariners the rest of the way, as did the Bulldogs' long, down-the-field through passes.

The Homer boys travel to the Matanuska Valley this weekend with games against Wasilla, Colony and Houston today, Friday and Saturday, respectively.