The girls state soccer tournament will end with an all-Anchorage championship match on Saturday, but only because Service and South survived serious challenges from a pair of Kenai Peninsula teams on Friday.
Dominant possession led to lopsided scoring chances and a 1-0 victory for Service over Kenai in the first of two semifinal matches at Anchorage Football Stadium.
In the second match, Soldotna took South deep into the second of two 10-minute overtime periods before Keely Jelinek ended it with a goal and a 2-1 win for the Wolverines.
Soldotna and Kenai will meet in an all-Peninsula battle for third place Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at AFS.
Service and South will play at 3 p.m. in a finale featuring two teams that have been there, done that.
Service is in the title game for the fifth time in seven seasons. South is in it for the fifth time in eight seasons. Each team has collected two championships during that span.
Saturday's match will mark the second time the teams have met in the finale. In 2008, Service edged South 2-1.
Service kept the ball on its side of the pitch for much of the match against Kenai.
"We were able to keep control of the ball," Cougars head coach Mark Cascolan said.
Haleigh Van Allen netted her second goal of the tournament about 15 minutes into the second half, burying a cross-shot from the right side of the field into the left side of the net.
Service followed with three prime opportunities but shot over the net by a few feet each time.
The win puts Service in its second straight championship and 23rd title match since 1982, when the first state tournament was played. Last season the Cougars lost 3-1 in the finals to Dimond -- the team Service beat 2-1 in Thursday's first round.
All but three starters are back from that team, Cascolan said. Though Service is young -- it only has one senior -- that experience is helpful, he said.
If the Cougars want to claim their 18th state championship, they have to play aggressive and with intensity, midfielder Aislinn Waite said.
"We like playing on the ground," she said. "Passing to feet."
In the second semifinal, South's Vanessa Velez ended a scoreless match with a goal five minutes into the second half.
Soldotna tied it with Kylee Wolfe's goal in the 52nd minute, forcing overtime.
The teams were scoreless through the first 10-minute overtime period and they were seven minutes into the second 10-minute period when Jelinek scored for South on a corner kick with three minutes left in overtime.
The Wolverines improved to 19-0-1, a record that includes two victories over Service -- 2-1 in the season opener and 2-0 on May 8.
In consolation action Friday in Eagle River, Dimond dumped West Valley 4-0 and Lathrop thumped Thunder Mountain 4-0. Dimond and West Valley will meet in the fourth-place match Saturday at 8 a.m.
Anchorage Daily News