The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé boys soccer team takes on Palmer High School on Friday in Anchorage. (Photo by Tory Bennetsen)

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé boys soccer team takes on Palmer High School on Friday in Anchorage. (Photo by Tory Bennetsen)

All four Juneau high school soccer teams notch winning records during road trip north

JDHS girls remain undefeated; both TMHS teams get first victories of season.

All four of Juneau’s high school soccer teams came home with winning records after three days of games up north, with the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé boys playing to a tie in a rematch of last year’s title game against Soldotna High School and the three other teams netting some lopsided victories during their trips.

The defending state champion Crimson Bears boys (2-2 in the three-team Southeast Conference, 3-2-2 overall) opened their road trip to Anchorage by defeating North Pole High School 4-1 on Thursday, then tied Palmer High School 1-1 on Friday and played to a scoreless tie with Soldotna High School on Saturday in a rematch of last year’s title game.

The JDHS girls (6-0-1 overall, 4-0 conference) remained undefeated by scoring dominant victories of 8-1 over North Pole on Thursday and 9-0 over Grace Christian on Friday before battling to their own tie with Soldotna at 2-2 on Saturday.

Meanwhile, both Thunder Mountain High School teams got their first victories of the season in convincing fashion at the Soccerfest tournament in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

The Falcons girls (0-4 conference, 2-5 overall) scored their first win by defeating Kodiak High School 7-1 on Thursday, then lost to Homer High School 2-0 on Friday and recovered to top Houston High School 4-2 on Saturday. The TMHS boys (2-4-1 overall, 0-3-1) lost to Kenai Central High School 4-0 on Thursday, then rebounded to beat Redington High School 10-0 on Friday and Nikiski High School 9-1 in the consolation bracket title game on Saturday.

Sam Mazon (#2) tries to score for Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé during Friday’s game against Palmer High School on Friday in Anchorage. (Photo by Tory Bennetsen)

Sam Mazon (#2) tries to score for Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé during Friday’s game against Palmer High School on Friday in Anchorage. (Photo by Tory Bennetsen)

For the Crimson Bears girls, the team’s first non-conference games of the season show it can be a title contender, but the deadlock against Soldotna reveals a need to work on stamina and other tournament essentials said Head Coach Matt Dusenberry on Monday.

“I think we can at least walk away thinking that we are one of the better teams in our division and have a shot at the state championship as long as we continue to work on our game and improve ourselves,” he said. Against Soldotna (first in the Peninsula Conference at 2-0, 4-0-1 overall) ”that was our third game (in three days) and you could see both teams had a few kids that were dog-tired.”

The TMHS boys’ team was in something of the opposite situation, arriving exhausted after a long trip to their first game against Kenai Central, which scored all four of its goals during the first half, said Head Coach Tim Lewis.

“We arrived about 20 minutes before the game so I knew this was going to be kind of rough on the kids just to be ready,” he said.

But once the players got some sleep they had little trouble scoring easy victories over schools with small teams — Redington has no subs on Friday and Nikiski only one on Saturday, Lewis said. But he said one of the most encouraging things about the trip is a large number of players on his team contributed scores.

“I think that’s my biggest takeaway, is that we had 13 different players score all those goals and we got a lot of experience, and it was just a good team trip,” he said.

All four local teams next play four conference games to finish their regular season schedules, beginning with both teams for both schools facing each other later this week.

The TMHS boys will host JDHS at 5:15 p.m. Thursday before the teams play a rematch at JDHS next Tuesday. The JDHS girls will host TMHS at 5 p.m. on Friday, then play home games against Ketchikan the following two weekend before their finale at JDHS at 5 p.m. May 13. The Falcons, after the rematch with JDHS, will travel to Ketchkian to play their final games May 15 and 16.

Dusenberry said while his focus is on securing the conference title and automatic state bid that comes with it, the victories up north may provide a useful local boost beyond his team.

“I mean it’s great that Thunder Mountain went and got two wins and only one loss,” he said. “That helps them as far as could they possibly still qualify for state.”

In the more competitive boys’ conference, Lewis said he’s feeling more confident about his team’s chances than at the beginning of the season when it lost its opening game 4-0 to JDHS.

“We had some players who were missing or injured the first couple of times,” he said. “And we’ve done a lot of work in practice to be more prepared and just play better soccer overall. I know JD’s been working on that too, so I think it’ll be a closer match during these next couple of games.”

• Contact Mark Sabbatini at mark.sabbatini@juneauempire.com or (907) 957-2306.

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