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Story Last modified at 6:53 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Vacation relegation
Mustangs, Wolves stumble into summer

BY MATT TUNSETH
Alaska Star

School was out for summer on May 19. For the Chugiak and Eagle River boys soccer teams, so were their seasons.

"I just don't think we ever got our full rhythm going," was how Mustangs coach George Campnell described his team's 2-1 overtime loss to West at Dimond Alumni Field on the very last day of school.

Chugiak, the CIC's No. 4 seed, lost for the second straight year to a lower-seeded Eagles squad.

"I'm at a loss to explain it," Campnell said.

No. 7 seed Eagle River, meanwhile, fell 4-0 to South, losing to the Wolverines in the opening round for the fifth consecutive season.

Campnell said his squad was listless through most of the 1-1 regulation time, then seemed to come alive in overtime.

"I think we put three or four balls off the crossbar," he said.

But a late West counterattack caught the Mustangs napping, and Campnell said goalie Roger Jorgensen was left in no-man's land.

"It's hugely disappointing," he said of the loss.

Campnell said Jorgensen's play was one of the day's bright spots, as the sophomore did everything he could to keep the team in the game against a feisty West unit.

"He made some just super saves for us," Campnell said.

Next year's Chugiak side will be an almost completely different group. The team graduated 13 seniors – including all-CIC first team performers Brad Fussner and Mo Ogden and second teamers Pat Mullett and Dare Hedum – and even Campnell said he's not sure he'll be back because he's working on a master's degree.

"It's something I've got to think about," he said.

Junior Isaac Wolf was also named to the first team. He'll be the team's top returning player next season. In addition to Jorgensen and Wolf, regulars Nicolas Macalino and Josiah Streff will be back, as will freshman Brady Sanders, who played a couple varsity games. And there's a huge group of untested players waiting for their shot, Campnell said.

"Coach (Matt) Miller's JV team only lost one game all season," he said.

Like their rivals, Eagle River will also be losing a large group of seniors, but coach Luke Almon said he had a big crop of sophomores on varsity that will soften the blow of losing captain Mikai Hulse and 10 other seniors.

"In general, things are looking up," Almon said.

Almon said his team played solid "for about five or 10 minutes" in its loss to South before things started to fall apart.

"They got a goal and we kinda mentally checked out for a second and they got another one right after that," he said.

Hulse, a versatile midfielder, was named first team all-CIC. Senior defender Eric Mora and sophomore midfielder Addie Platt were named to the second team.

Almon said he's happy with the group he has coming back, though he still needs to find a replacement for senior keeper Jordan Oberlander, one of the team's key players.

"That's a little bit of a concern," he said.

Almon said he's hopeful someone can step up and fill Oberlander's shoes. And he's also looking to one of the team's younger players to emerge as a legitimate goal-scoring threat at the front.

"That could turn things around really quickly," he said.

Contact Matt Tunseth at matt.tunseth@alaskastar.com.



This article published in The Alaska Star on Wednesday, May 25, 2011.