It was a historic Saturday for the four Interior high school soccer teams in the Alaska School Activities Association/First National Bank Alaska State Championships in Anchorage and Eagle River.
It was the first time four teams from the Interior were playing on the last day of three-team state tournament for Division I (large) and Division II (small).
“It’s a bright future for the Interior,” West Valley head coach Howard Maxwell said by phone. “There’s a lot of good players down here spread across a lot of teams.”
However, the four Interior squads didn’t fare well Saturday in their games in Anchorage and Eagle River.
The West Valley Wolfpack’s boys team lost in the Division I third-place game, and the Wolfpack girls team was defeated in their fourth place game.
The North Pole Patriots girls team ended its second year in the state tournament with a loss in the Division II fourth-place contest.
The Monroe Catholic Rams’ debut in the state tournament ended with a setback in the fourth-place boys game of the Division II tournament.
The Wolfpack boys team fell 2-0 to the Service Cougars in the Division I third-place game at West Anchorage High School.
“Our identity all season was winning through defense,” Maxwell said. “Most of our wins were by shutouts when we didnt have a one or two-goal margin.
“We had a solid group of (nine) seniors who had a good four-year run.”
West Valley goalkeeper Kristaps Bareika recorded 10 shutouts, including a 1-0 win over the South Anchorage Wolverines in Thursday’s first-round game. West Valley lost 1-0 to the West Anchorage Eagles in a semifinal Friday.
The Wolfpack, 16-2-2 overall, allowed goals by the Cougars in the 23rd minute of the first half and during the last three minutes of Saturday’s game.
The Wolfpack girls suffered a 1-0 loss to West Anchorage on Saturday at Eagle River High School.
“It took us about 20 minutes to wake up in this early-morning game,” West Valley head Sven Grage said in an email, alluding to the 8 a.m. start for the fourth-place game.
“Just a bit too late to prevent West from scoring the only goal of the game.”
The game, Grage said, was well played, even in the second half.
“We had a handful of good chances, including a fast cross in the last minute of the game that just missed the head of one of our strikers,” Grage wrote. “The (Wolfpack) girls are leaving the tournament with their heads up high as one of the youngest teams in the state.”
West Valley’s Finn Sprankle received a player of the game honor.
North Pole lost 3-2 to the Homer Mariners in the girls fourth-place game at Eagle River.
Johanna Bluma scored in the first half for the Patriots and Chalayna Culler produced their second-half goal.
“I thought the girls played well overall, but we had a couple of breakdowns on defense,” North Pole head coach Damon Crutcher said by phone. “Homer is a very strong team, and we knew it would be a tough game.”
Monroe Catholic and Homer battled to a scoreless deadlock in regulation and 10 minutes of overtime before the Mariners won 1-0 on penalty kicks.
Homer outscored Monroe 5-4 in the shootout session. Nathan Walsh, Jordan Higbee, Isaac Garcia and Austin Clarkson converted penalty kicks for the Rams.
“There’s nothing to be ashamed of when you go all the way to overtime and you’re tied 0-0, and then you go all the way to penalty kicks,” Rams head coach John Mayer said.
“Everyone stepped up and played their best.”
Contact News-Miner sports editor Danny Martin at 459-7586. Follow him on Twitter: @newsminersports.