Homer Alaska - Sports

Story last updated at 5:40 PM on Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mariners play for state soccer championship

By Joey Klecka
Morris News Service - Alaska

The Mariners' boys soccer team is in Anchorage to play for the state title. The Mariners took second in the Northern Lights Conference championship game last Saturday at Skyview, losing to Wasilla 2-1 by a penalty kick in the final minutes of the game.

When the ball glanced off Homer player Andre Lovett's arm while he was in the goal box with 10 minutes to go, officials called for a penalty kick for Wasilla. The Warriors' Kyler Perry stepped up to take the shot, and broke a 1-1 tie with the Mariners.

"I didn't see what happened, but obviously one of my players is upset about it, because it glanced off his arm," Head Coach Warren Waldorf said. "But it was a good game, and I guess the better team won today."

In a physical match that saw three yellow cards against Wasilla players in the first half, Homer scored first in the 25th minute.

Lewis Koplin was able to take advantage of a long shot from the other end of the field to take a diagonal shot past Wasilla's goalkeeper and bounce the ball off the right post and in the net.

However, Wasilla answered back with a shot from Ethan Keenan six minutes later with an assist from Perry to knot the game.

"Homer is a great team, and we have a lot of respect for them," Wasilla Coach Blake Livingston said. "They're a quality side, and it took everything we had to come out and compete with them."

Leading up to the championship game, the Mariners beat Palmer 4-0 on Thursday, their first Thursday win in the tourney since 2009.

Lennart Von Schlichting opened the scoring for the Mariners in the 16th minute with an assist from Robin Glosser, and Konstantin Reutov made it 2-0 two minutes later, with a strong drive toward the net to beat two defenders and knock the ball in. He had an assist from Von Schlichting.

"We had Konstantin running up front with Kyle (Wisner) right underneath and Robin there, too, and Mario (Glosser) on the left, so it was very effective," Waldorf said.

With a 2-0 lead at halftime, any player can expect a second-half surge from the trailing team, but Homer was able to stifle anything Palmer had.

"We had 10 starters coming in today at six in the morning, and that hurts, but no excuses," Palmer Coach Kevin Dearborn said. "Homer is a great team, and they should go far. They played us tight, really tough, and the prior two games were 0-0 and 1-0 they beat us."

Homer received two more goals in the second half, a second score from Reutov in the 48th minute, and a header from Robin Glosser in the 52nd minute.

"I think a lot of it was tiredness, but take nothing away from it, they are a great team," Dearborn said. "The energy level wasn't there, and Homer was hungry this year."

Friday's game against Grace Christian brought the Mariners a close 1-0 win in overtime to advance to the final match in the Northern Lights Conference championship.

The Mariners had multiple opportunities to score during the entire match, including two goals that were negated due to the referee calling it offside, but were finally able to make it count in the 17th minute of overtime.

Von Schlichting managed to slip the ball past Grace goalkeeper Bryce Rodgers with a smooth cross assist from Konstantin Reutov.

"I told them they need to grow up and past the test," Waldorf said. "The other players are trying to get underneath our skin, there's some trash talking going on out there, my kids were buying into it, and I told them they need to grow up and get over it."

Homer held the possession of the ball for the majority of the game, but could not get the shot off, as an early goal was erased due to Homer being called offsides. Another offsides call was called in the 53rd minute when Von Schlichting was taking a free kick.

With the intensity of the game high, Waldorf said he told his players to settle down and focus on playing their game.

"I think in the second half, they did it real well, and they were getting better and better, and we kept pressing very hard, and finally we got one," Waldorf said. "They didn't give up, and they found a way. The last thing I told my two forwards was it's time to finish."

The Mariners left Wednesday for the state tournament. Competition will be stiff against the 16 best teams in the state, but Homer plans to be a force.

Waldorf said, "It will be tough. Dimond and South Anchorage are better than everyone else. We are the smallest school by far, but we can hang."

All-Conference boys team — 1. Robin Glosser, M, Homer; 2. Kyler Perry, M, Wasilla; 3. Sean Colette, M, Colony; 4. Kyle Wisner, M, Homer; 5. Travis Patterson, F, Wasilla; 6. Aube Strickland, M, Palmer; 7. Cory Carver, M, Soldotna; 8. Konstantin Reutov, F, Homer; 9. Daniel Fulmer, D, Grace; 10. Bryce Rodgers, G, Grace; 11. Jacob Spannegel, F, Colony; 12. Alex Springer, M, Kenai; 13. John Meaney, M, Colony; 14. Kyle Scarlett, D, Kenai; 15. Andre Lovett, D, Homer.

Angelina Skowronski contributed to this story.