The Dimond High boys possessed two things in abundance Friday -- the soccer ball and some awesomely tragic haircuts.
The first element was easy on the eyes -- Dimond's possession game, filled with nimble passing and dynamic dribbling, generated a 4-1 semifinal victory over Service in the Cook Inlet Conference tournament and a berth in next week's state championships.
The second wasn't exactly an equal vision, but instead bordered on cringe-worthy, though in a fun way.
The Lynx have long held to a tradition of giving themselves terrifically bad haircuts for the conference and state tournaments as a sort of team-bonding deal. Usually, the seniors wield the clippers on freshmen or newcomers, though upperclassmen often join in and likewise end up with haircuts that will no doubt haunt them one day when their children find the family photo album.
And the Lynx don't just go the old standard mohawk route, though there are a few of those.
No, they go surreal, which is how Clayton Nadon's blond locks ended up shorn nearly to his scalp, except for some sheepdog bangs up front and matching bangs at the back. Then there's Ron Drake, who has a strip of horizontal hair around his head above the ears -- sort of a horseshoe of hair, as it were.
Yet the trippiest 'do may belong to sophomore Cory Schneider, who looks as though a tarantula, or perhaps a starfish, was dropped upon his melon.
"We were going for an X initially,'' allowed teammate Jake Henke, "then I don't know what happened. We just left a bald spot in the middle of the X. It looks awful.''
Schneider, however, reported his haircut is all the rage.
"Oh, I've been getting a lot of compliments about it,'' he contended.
At least it gave his mom, Janine, a good chuckle.
"She just laughed at me, then took pictures, and then posted them on Facebook,'' Schneider said. "I've been getting a lot of requests from people to tip my head forward so they can take a picture of it.''
On the pitch, the Lynx proved more traditionally stylish, which earned them a spot in Saturday's 4:30 p.m. championship game against South, which beat West 1-0 in the earlier Friday semifinal at Eagle River High and has not permitted a goal in two tournament games.
Both Dimond and South locked berths in the state tournament. The CIC's third state berth will be determined in Saturday's 9 a.m. third-place game between West and Service.
In the opening 30-plus minutes on the artificial turf Friday at Eagle River High, the Lynx were in near constant possession of the ball and seemingly always on the attack.
Service's stout back line and goalkeeper Craig Briske held Dimond in check until Henke headed in a Travis Merritt rebound -- Henke's header glanced off Briske and trickled into the net in the 36th minute. Henke rocketed a 30-yard strike one minute later for a 2-0 lead.
Patience and poise finally produced prosperity, Henke said.
"We kept our focus and the goals came, finally,'' he said.
Henke, by the way, didn't go for one of those weed-whacker haircuts, but employed his seniority to simply change hair color from brown to yellowish blond.
"I'm a senior, and that's why I chose to dye my hair,'' he reported.
Service trimmed Dimond's advantage to 2-1 just before halftime, courtesy of Adam Klie's goal on the Cougars' first shot on goal.
Dimond gained second-half goals from Austin Portch, who delivered off a Merritt feed that was preceded by Henke's strong work on the wing, and Matt Cerveny to win going away.
You could say victory Friday was the one thing that wasn't a close shave for the Lynx.
Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.
By DOYLE WOODY
Anchorage Daily News