4 locals make first team All-Railbelt soccer; Eagle River’s Swanson named Coach of the Year
After leading her team to its first state tournament appearance in school history, Eagle River girls head soccer coach Lynn Swanson was honored as the Railbelt Conference’s girls Coach of the Year in voting announced last week.
Swanson’s Wolves went 3-5-2 in the Railbelt, including a win and a tie against rival Chugiak. The squad played its best when it mattered, going undefeated in its final three conference games to earn a state tournament berth.
The award was announced alongside the six-team league’s all-conference teams, which this year included four local first-team selections.
Eagle River striker Josie Becerra was the lone local player named to the first team on the girls’ side, while Chugiak’s Grant Jones and Francis Wanek were joined by Eagle River’s Sam Snider on the boys first team.
Making the boys second team were Eagle River’s Cade Van Meter and Tanner Johnson along with Chugiak’s Christian Beesing and Thomas Sitz; the Mustangs’ Kellen Beam and Wolves’ Jon Streff were named honorable mention and Beam and Eagle River’s Andrew Hamilton were named to the Good Sport team.
Eagle River’s Addison Swanson, Cassie Scott and Kaycee Chavez were named to the second team girls squad, as were Chugiak’s Aliza Schwartz and Reyna Moore.
Chugiak’s Hannah Sitz, Jenna Labonte and Jordyn Bailey were named honorable mention, along with Eagle River’s Hailey Sullivan, Hendrikje Bodine and Syd Swanson. The Wolves’ Ashylyn Walker and Mustangs’ Kaylen Gardner were named to the Good Sport team.
Eagle River girls, Chugiak boys finish 7th at state
Tournament co-host Eagle River ran into a juggernaut in the opening round of the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Division I Girls Soccer Tournament Thursday at the Wolves’ Den.
Top-seeded South got two first-half goals from captain Carin Currier to knock off the Wolves 2-0 in front of a pro-Wolves crowd that came to watch the team play its first state playoff game in program history. Eagle River reached the playoffs after finishing fourth in the Railbelt Conference during the regular season.
The Wolves tied for seventh place in the tournament after falling 2-1 to West Friday in the consolation round.
South beat Wasilla 1-0 in the semifinals Friday and fell 2-1 to Dimond in overtime in the tournament final Saturday.
The Chugiak boys put a scare into top-seeded Service Thursday, in the opening round of the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Division I Boys State Soccer Tournament at Service High.
The Cougars got a late strike from Alex Nunez to advance to the semifinals with a 2-1 win. Nunez’s header in the 88th minute broke a 1-1 tie and sent the host Cougars into the semifinals.
Haruki Ono scored the lone goal for the Mustangs.
The loss dropped Chugiak into the consolation round, where they fell 1-0 to Dimond on Friday to finish tied for seventh.
Service lost 1-0 to Colony on Friday; the Knights defeated West 2-0 in Saturday’s title game.
Coach of the Year: Lynn Swanson, Eagle River
1st Team — Abby Crawford, Wasilla; Aleksandra Kvalheim, Wasilla; Alexis Friesen, Wasilla
Aubrey Stacey, West Valley; Bella Brown, Colony; Finn Sprankle, West Valley; Gabby Wakaliuk,Colony; Josie Becerra, Eagle River; Juliana Mondelli, Lathrop; Madison Elliott, Colony; Reese Sande, Wasilla; Samantha Johnstone, Colony; Sterling Elliott, Colony; Taylee Ross, Lathrop
2nd Team — Addison Swanson, Eagle River; Aliza Schwartz, Chugiak; Ashlynn Cornelison, Colony; Cassie Scott, Eagle River; Chole Anderson, Lathrop; Gwen Amos-Well, Lathrop; Jarah Hoop, Lathrop; Kaycee Chavez,Eagle River; Megan Dow, West Valley; Mesa Arens, Lathrop; Mykie McMullen, Colony; Nicole Catlett, Wasilla; Reyna Moore, Chugiak; Shayla Donley, Wasilla; Taylin Fraker, Wasilla
Honorable mention — Ellie Lovely, Lathrop; Hailey Sullivan, Eagle River; Hannah Sitz, Chugiak; Hendrikje Bodine, Eagle River; Jenny Labonte, Chugiak; Jordyn Bailey, Chugiak; Maisey O’Neil, West Valley; Syd Swanson, Eagle River
Coach of the year: Howard Maxwell, West Valley
1st Team — Carter Mahler, Lathrop; Connor Friesen, Colony; Dennis Gerasimyuk, Wasilla; Eric Kolosov, Wasilla; Ethan Raygor, West Valley; Franky Wanek, Chugiak; Grant Jones, Chugiak; Hugo Pochon, Colony; Kristaps Bareika, West Valley; Kyle Dearborn, Colony; Michael Dow, West Valley; Mike Sliwa, Colony; Noah Krozel, Colony; Sam Snider, Eagle River; Vaughn Simpson, West Valley
2nd Team — Baird Reynolds, Lathrop; Ben Kraska, Lathrop; Cade Van Meter, Eagle River; Christian Beesing, Chugiak; Gabe Zayon, West Valley; Hudson Howarth, Wasilla; Isacc Dershin, Lathrop; Josh Rolston, Chugiak; Sullivan Menard, Colony; Tanner Johnson, Eagle River; Thomas Sitz, Chugiak; Travis Bekkedahl, Colony
Honorable mention — Kellen Beam, Chugiak; Streff Jon, Eagle River