Story last updated at 3:32 p.m. Thursday, May 16, 2002

Mariner girls head into Regions play
By Sepp Jannotta
Staff Writer

photo: sports
  Photo by Sepp Jannotta, Homer News
Homer's Candy Fidino runs into the Kenai goal keeper as she looks for a rebound.  
When the Kenai High School girls soccer team scored on a penalty kick in the final minute of Saturday's soccer match, the visiting Kardinals demonstrated a key point in athletic competition while making off with a 2-1 win over Homer.

Soccer, like most other sports, is a game of momentum, with one team trying to ride it and fan its flames and the other team trying to subdue it or steal it away.

The game was close throughout and was the Mariners' final regular season match and third in three days, following a 2-1 loss to Skyview on Thursday and a 3-2 win over Soldotna on Friday.

On Saturday, Homer owned a one-goal lead for most of the second half, though Kenai controlled much of the play.

photo: sports
  Photo by Sepp Jannotta, Homer News
Holly McCune out hustles an opponent to the ball during 2-1 Kenai's win over the Mariners on Saturday.  
Mariner goal keeper Chaunna Dietz was the main obstacle standing in the way of Kenai's momentum turning the game into a blowout. She made a number of spectacular diving saves as the Kardinals blasted many of their shots from inside the box.

Ultimately, a pair of Mariner infractions, committed during scrambles in front of Dietz late in the game, led to a pair of Kenai goals on penalty kicks.

"Any time you play 40 minutes of defense, you're bound to have a few hand balls turn into penalty kick opportunities for (your opponent)," Mariner coach Mickey Todd said after the game. "It's pretty hard on the goalie."

Dietz managed to get a hand on the game-winning penalty kick but could not keep it from crossing the line. Both of Kenai's penalty shots were taken by Katherine Amen.

Dietz, who this season is playing goal for the first time since middle school, has improved steadily, Todd said.

Syverine Abrahamson gave the Mariners the lead when she fired home a penalty kick with two minutes left in the first half.

With the Region III tournament starting Friday in Soldotna, Todd said his team would have liked to end the regular season with a win, but didn't have the legs to stay with a fast and opportunistic Kenai team.

"We definitely had some tired legs after playing Thursday and Friday," Todd said. "And it's hard to focus mentally for 240 minutes of soccer in three days."

Still, the 3-4-1 Mariners will head into Regions seeded third in the south division. The Mariners draw a first-round game against Wasilla, who beat them in a tightly played 2-1 tilt on April 26.

During Friday's game against Soldotna, the Mariners were led by Abrahamson, who netted a pair of goals, and Kelly Beily, who kicked in the eventual match-winner in the 57th minute.

In last Thursday's match, Skyview came back from a 1-0 deficit to steal a 2-1 win after Ginny Berg scored in the 62nd minute. Chantrelle Cousins scored five minutes into the first half for the Mariners.