Anchorage, Alaska (KINY) - The Thunder Mountain High School girls soccer team started slow but finished with a flurry as they defeated Redington 4-0 in their opening game at the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Soccer State Tournament on Thursday at West High School.
“It was a good first tournament game,” Thunder Mountain coach John Newell said. “My girls had a lot of jitters, you know, state cup, the first one in a couple of years for us. They finally settled down in the second half and started playing the ball around like we knew we could. It just took a little while to get the nerves out and start playing.”
Thunder Mountain missed eight shots through the first 20 minutes of action.
The action turned when Falcons junior Kiah Dihle was brought down hard and had to leave the game. The offending opponent was issued a red card and taken from the pitch, giving Thunder Mountain a player advantage for the remainder of the game.
Falcons freshman Kaidree Hartman scored the first goal with 6:15 remaining in the first half.
Dihle returned to start the second half action.
“The team just wanted to work together,” Dihle said. “Just settle down. We were a little wild in the first half but we settled down in the second half and we had a pretty good game.”
Dihle may have settled down the most.
She scored three goals in the second half, the first just one minute into action.
Dihle hit her second with 26 minutes remaining in the game with an assist by senior Isabella Hanna, and put her third goal in with 21 minutes remaining.
“It feels pretty good, pretty exciting,” Dihle said. “It was nice.”
Dihle also received player of the game honors.
“I think when Kiah got hit a couple times it kind of woke her up,” Newell said. “But we would rather not have her knocked around like that anymore. But I was pretty happy with how the girls played. They settled into a kind of rhythm game where they were playing the ball around and getting lots of chances.
Thunder Mountain advances to play Soldotna in the semifinals at 5 p.m., Friday, at Service High School.
Above: Thunder Mountain junior Molly Brocious is upended in the Redington box during state soccer tournament action on Thursday at Anchorage's West High School. (Klas Stolpe/KINY)