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Story Last modified at 6:38 p.m. on Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Birchwood battle begins
Chugiak, ER girls collide in CIC soccer playoff

BY MATT TUNSETH
Alaska Star

photo:Sports

Eagle River senior soccer player Rebecca Boggs signed a National Letter of Intent to play Division I college soccer at the University of Colorado in Boulder on May 6 in the Eagle River library. Pictured with Boggs is her mother, Sheri. Her father, sister and head coach also attended the signing.
PHOTO courtesy of Boggs family

The hometown side is guaranteed a victory in the opening round of the Cook Inlet Conference girls soccer tournament, which begins tonight when No. 4 seed Chugiak and No. 5 seed Eagle River kick off at Tom Huffer Sr. Stadium at 7 p.m.

"I'm sure it will be a good game," said Chugiak coach Paul Brehmer.

Chugiak beat Eagle River by a goal in their first meeting this season and the teams fought to a draw in their second game. One difference between the games was the presence of Chugiak's Duke University-bound striker Kelly Cobb, who missed the second affair to attend to national team duties Outside.

Wolves coach Lauren Mason said Cobb will have to be accounted for if Eagle River (7-6-5 overall, 3-6-5 CIC) wants to advance to the second round.

"She will make a difference in how we have to defend," Mason said.

The two teams enter the tournament coming off very different results. The Wolves capped their best regular season in school history with a 1-1 draw against Service on May 9 and a 4-0 thrashing of Thunder Mountain on May 13 in the season finale. Jackie Klecka scored the team's lone goal against Service and had all four tallies against the Falcons.

"She's been prolific," Mason said.

Rebecca Boggs earned three assists in the Thunder Mountain win.

Chugiak stumbled in its final game, dropping into the fourth seed with a 2-1 loss to Service on May 14 in which Cobb had the team's lone goal.

Brehmer said he's hoping that loss won't prove to be a momentum killer for the Mustangs, who finished 8-5-3 overall and 6-5-3 in the CIC.

"Our last two games were not our best, so we're going to have to turn some things around," he said.

Mason said she thinks the Mustangs will have the ball-control advantage, which her team will counter with a disciplined, defensive game plan.

"I think technically they have some more skilled players, but I think the girls really understand our system," she said. "We're anything if not organized."

Mason also said the team's strong regular season – the winning record was Eagle River's first – will make her side a tough one to face.

"They've definitely had a little confidence boost," she said.

More than anything, she said the Wolves will be excited to get a crack at their cross town rivals with a first-ever berth in the CIC semifinals on the line.

"They'd like to make some history," she said.

The winner of tonight's game will advance into the second round on May 20 at Anchorage Football Stadium.

Contact Matt Tunseth at matt.tusneth@alaskastar.com or 694-2727.



This article published in The Alaska Star on Wednesday, May 18, 2011.