The Mariners boys soccer team won its first game in the Division II state soccer championship Thursday. The Mariners defeated Grace Christian five to one in Anchorage. Six teams are competing for the championship title.
It’s high school senior’s Charles Rohr’s third time going to state. But the excitement hasn’t worn off.
“I was ecstatic,” he said. “We had our first game in the semifinals. We knew if we won that we would go and if we lost that we wouldn't. But as soon as we won that game I was ecstatic.”
It’s the first time teams across the state will be split into two divisions instead of competing within one larger bracket for the championship title.
Before Rohr left for Anchorage today, he said the path to a win at state was clear.
“I think mainly we just have to play together is our biggest point and work as a group, work as a unit and if we're able to have good connections and things like that with our midfield and our defense, I think we're going to be in good shape,” he said.
Seniors and sophomores make up most of the 15 players on the roster. Coach Warren Waldorf said there are strong players, some of whom have played together since elementary school.
Before Waldorf left for Anchorage, he said his biggest concern was the lack of time between the first and second game. The team’s first game was at 1 p.m. Thursday and the next game is Friday at 9 a.m.
“[I] have to do whatever I can to help these kids recover enough to play a really good team within 19 hours,” he said. “At the highest levels they say our players can't fill their tanks with less than 72 hours. That's three days. We're asking these kids to do things that the professionals won't do.”
The Mariners are up against the Kenai Central Friday. If the team wins, the players will move on to the championship game Saturday.