Wolves, Stangs to battle in opening round

CIC soccer tourney starts today


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Chugiak’s Ashleigh Sitz battles a Dimond defender for position during Dimond’s 6-0 win at Chugiak’s Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium on Saturday, May 12. Chugiak and Eagle River will face each other in the opening round of the CIC tournament today at Eagle River.

MATT TUNSETH

Crosstown rivals Chugiak (8-5-1) and Eagle River (3-7-4) will meet for a third time this season in the opening round of the girls Cook Inlet Conference soccer tournament.

The No. 3 seed Mustangs play at sixth-seeded Eagle River today (Thursday, May 17) at 8 p.m. Chugiak swept the regular season series, winning 1-0 on March 31 and 2-1 on May 1.

Chugiak ended its regular season with a 3-1 win over West on May 9 before losing 6-0 to Dimond on May 12. Susan Fleurant, Jessi Beverlin and Tori Fishburn scored for the Mustangs against West.

Jackie Klecka scored Eagle River’s lone goal in a 4-1 loss to Dimond on May 9. West defeated the Wolves 4-0 in the regular season finale May 12.

Eagle River can’t concede four goals a match if they want to get past Chugiak, Wolves’ head coach Lauren Mason said.

“We have to get back to basic defensive principles if we want to be successful,” she said.

Eagle River can defeat Chugiak, Mason said, but the Wolves need to step up their game.

“We have to play better than we have recently,” she said.

The Mustangs need to be mentally prepared if they want a third consecutive win over Eagle River, Chugiak head coach Paul Brehmer said.

“We have to be motivated to come out hard in the beginning of the game,” he said.

It’s unlikely the Mustangs will enter the game healthy, Brehmer said, as Fishburn and Beverlin are still recovering from injuries.

“That will be a factor,” he said.

It’s always a battle anytime Chugiak and Eagle River meet, Brehmer said.

“I’m sure it will be a good game,” he said.

No matter who the opponent is, winning on the first day of the CIC tournament is crucial, Brehmer said, as only the top three teams move onto state. Winning the first round guarantees a spot in the third-place game, whereas losing ends a team’s season.

“It’s a must-win game,” Brehmer said.

 

Boys

Eagle River’s boys open today’s Cook Inlet Conference soccer tournament against a familiar foe — West High.

The sixth-seeded Wolves take on the third-seeded Eagles tonight (Thursday, May 17) at South’s field at 8.

The Eagles handed the Wolves a 3-2 loss in the regular season finale May 12 at Eagle River.

Goals by Scott Howard and Patrick Prior gave Eagle River a 2-1 lead at the half. But West scored two second-half goals to earn a come-from-behind win.

“The boys played an outstanding game,” Eagle River head coach Max Soldokii said.

Eagle River dropped a 9-0 game to Dimond on May 9 and finished the season 3-11 in the conference tied with crosstown rival Chugiak. Eagle River won the goal differential tiebreaker to earn the sixth seed.

Eagle River needs to play a complete game for success against West, Solodkii said.

“It’s gonna take the entire 80 minutes,” he said.

Solodkii said he wants his team to break the match down minute by minute.

“You can’t take anybody lightly,” he said. “Everybody is going to have to bring their game up.”

Preparation will be key if Eagle River wants to upset the Eagles, Solodkii said.

“West is a talented team,” he said. “One mistake can cost you the game.”

But, Solodkii said, the Wolves know what they need to do.

“The boys will be ready,” he said.

Seventh-seeded Chugiak travels to No. 2 South at 6 p.m. today. The Mustangs ended their regular season with a 5-0 loss to West on May 9, and top-seeded Dimond beat them 11-1 on May 12.

The conference’s top two teams won’t be easy to beat, Chugiak head coach Mikey Evans said.

“Both South and Dimond, they are just so strong,” he said. “You’re looking at two teams that just have years of playing together.”

While defeating South is unlikely, Evans said, his team is still going to come out strong. Evans said he doesn’t want to concede early goals and wants his team to keep its shape.

If Chugiak stays focused and plays a full 80 minutes, Evans said, the Mustangs can give South a good match. Evans said he’d like Chugiak to pressure South and notch a couple goals.

“South is tough to beat on a bad day,” he said. “But it doesn’t need to be a blowout.”

 

Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or mike.nesper@alaskastar.com

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