PALMER — The Palmer girls and boys enjoyed a celebration Thursday night Moose soccer faithful have been waiting more than a decade for. The Moose girls used a 6-1 win over Houston to earn its first conference championship in more than a decade. With a 4-0 victory over the Hawks, the Palmer boys qualified for the state tournament for the first time since 2006.
“It’s a super big deal. They are so excited,” Palmer girls head coach Harmony Chadwick said of her players after the school’s soccer senior night festivities.
Palmer’s conference crown comes a year after the Moose erased another drought last year. In 2018, the Moose earned their first state tourney win since 2007. Chadwick said it has been great to see her team follow the success in 2018 with another major accomplishment.
“I love how much they work together. I am super proud. They had a goal, and they executed,” Chadwick said.
Catherine Uschmann scored four times in the win. Aurora Till and Cearsten Dosser also scored for Palmer.
With the win, the Moose finish 6-0-2 in Northern Lights Conference play. Chadwick said teamwork is what stands out about her team.
“They just mesh really well,” Chadwick said.
Teamwork has also been key to the success of the Palmer boys, head coach Josh Banks said Thursday.
“We’re a more team oriented group,” Banks said.
Banks said Palmer lost standout talent to graduation last spring, but with an adjustment, the Moose are playing a productive style of soccer.
“It’s definitely a different group,” Banks said.
Banks said possession is a statistic that really stands out. Last year, Palmer was hovering around 22 percent ball possession last year. This year it’s above 60, he said. Banks said even though the Moose are not scoring goals at the rate they did last year, the great increased in ball possession has led to success.
“I think they’ve come a long way,” Banks said.
Palmer boasted a talented side last season, but he said the 2019 squad is ready for the challenge of the state tourney.
Banks, a 2014 graduate of Palmer High and former Moose soccer standout, is in his second season as head coach. Qualifying for the state tourney is a big step, he said.
“For the first time we’re developing players,” Banks said.
Hayden Hartman led Palmer with a pair of goals in the win over Houston. Zeke Ruble and Logan Crews also scored for Palmer. Isaiah Montoya finished with three assists.
Palmer finished the regular season 6-5-3 overall and 5-1-2 in conference play.
The ASAA Division II state brackets are expected to be released Sunday.
Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman managing editor Jeremiah Bartz at email@example.com.