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South boys beat Colony 2-0 in state final in rematch of last year’s title game

by | May 26, 2024 | Cover Story, Soccer

South keeper Ralf Braun skies for the save. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

A couple of defensive players got their kicks on offense in the big game Saturday, and it helped the South High boys soccer team win a state title.

Keeper Ralf Braun and defenseman Declan Priddy were involved in both first-half goals as the Wolverines beat Colony 2-0 in the title game of the ASAA Division I state tournament at Wasilla High School.

The first goal was technically an own goal in the 22nd minute, but it was set up by Braun’s 45-yard free kick in the box that was inadvertently knocked in by a Colony player who was attempting to clear the ball.

The second goal came in the 32nd minute on a corner kick from Christoph Mlacnik, who put the ball in the box where Priddy pounced on a rebound in front of the net after the Colony keeper initially punched the ball out of danger.

Defensively, Braun and the boys made life tough for Colony playmakers as the Wolverines posted their third shutout in as many days at the state tournament and fifth straight clean sheet dating back to May 10.

South’s Shibiru Hoffman races for the ball with Colony’s Ryoga Kanda (23) and Tyler Swartz (18). Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

South (17-0-1) finished the season on an 11-game winning streak and earned a three-game season sweep of Colony. The only blemish on South’s record was a 2-2 tie with West. There was also a 1-0 win over Service and a 2-1 triumph over Colony.

Other than that, though, the Wolverines shredded the competition by outscoring opponents 98-9.

Led by fab forwards Shibiru Hoffman, Elijah Pediangco and Mlacnik, the Wolverines produced high quality ball control early and often Saturday. But it was Colony who had the first scoring chances, thanks to Isaac Villa.

In the 17th minute, he found Johnny Figgins for a one-on-one opportunity that was whistled offsides and three minutes later feathered a beautiful through pass to
Owen Dietz, whose rolled a shot through traffic that went wide right.

In the 22nd minute, South earned a free kick just beyond midfield in Colony territory. Braun booted the ball into the box where a Colony player tracked it the entire way, but his volley accidentally went it into his own net. Devastated, he instantly put his hands over his face as his teammates tried to comfort him.

Colony’s Johnny Figgins fights off a South defender. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

South’s second goal came in the 32nd minute on a run that started with Mlacnik, who chested the ball and unleashed a beautiful bicycle kick from 25 yards out that the Colony keeper had to tip at the last moment to avoid going into the net.

It was a thing of beauty.

Pediangco’s corner kick was pure precision as he put the ball in the exact position for a Andrew Mukavitz header, but the Colony keeper came off the goal line and punched the ball right before it got to Mukavitz.

Priddy was sitting pretty; right place at the right time as the loose ball landed at his feet and he blasted the rebound into an open net and then streaked down the sideline in celebration, inviting his teammates to join him. They did.

Colony’s Quinn Dowd (7) passes to teammate Finn Hofmann while being marked. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

Colony’s Finn Hofmann stood tall in the second half along with Quinn Dowd and Figgins. Hofmann provided his team with maybe its best scoring chance of the day when he turned a fired a laser that forced Braun to make a good save in the 41st minute.

South’s swarming defense was tough on the Knights and forced dribblers to beat multiple guys to create breathing room. Space was sparse.

This was a Colony team that entered the state title game riding a nine-game winning streak, having outscored opponents 25-3.

The Knights finished the season 17-3-2. This game was a rematch of last year’s state title game won by Colony in OT.

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