TMHS senior Mackenzie Olver (27) kicks the ball away from Colorado Wheat Ridge senior Naomi Fireman Schiavoni (4) on Thursday at Thunder Mountain for a non-conference game. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

TMHS senior Mackenzie Olver (27) kicks the ball away from Colorado Wheat Ridge senior Naomi Fireman Schiavoni (4) on Thursday at Thunder Mountain for a non-conference game. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Colorado visitors provide rocky matchups for Juneau soccer teams

Colorado team visits for non-conference games.

Wheat Ridge High School Farmers traveled to Juneau last week from Colorado for two non-conference games. They first played against Thunder Mountain High School on Thursday and then Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé on Saturday.

Both Juneau teams fell to Wheat Ridge in separate shutouts, 5-0 on Thursday for TMHS and 7-0 for JDHS. Visiting coach Dan Watkins said he was proud of the effort put forth by the team and followed the script that they practiced before making the voyage up north.

TMHS junior Zoey Moore (37) passes the ball down field on Thursday at Thunder Mountain against the Wheat Ridge Farmers visiting from Colorado for a non-conference game. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

TMHS junior Zoey Moore (37) passes the ball down field on Thursday at Thunder Mountain against the Wheat Ridge Farmers visiting from Colorado for a non-conference game. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

“It’s a really fun experience to be able to come up to Juneau and play the games here,” Watkins said. “I thought we did a nice job of setting the tone with possession and knocking the ball around to create some chances.”

Watkins added that the team’s trip to Juneau was nothing short of “unbelievable.” Watkins specifically thanked the community for its hospitality, adding that it was an experience he knows his team will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

“Between Cindy (Eriksen) and Matt (Dusenberry) and the community here, I mean just opening up and asking what they can do to give us a great experience, it truly means the world to us,” Watkins said. “For our kids to be able to go and do something like this in an area that the kids aren’t familiar with and learn something about the area, it’s really special.”

Wheat Ridge senior Ella Strafface (15) defends the ball against TMHS freshman Piper Blackgoat (9) on Thursday against Thunder Mountain for a non-conference game. Strafface had two goals against JDHS on Saturday’s game at Adair Kennedy field. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Wheat Ridge senior Ella Strafface (15) defends the ball against TMHS freshman Piper Blackgoat (9) on Thursday against Thunder Mountain for a non-conference game. Strafface had two goals against JDHS on Saturday’s game at Adair Kennedy field. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

On Thursday,m the Falcons struggled to move the ball down the field offensively, which led to giving up five goals all within the first quarter. Wheat Ridge senior Acacia Seeling scored the Farmers’ first two goals followed by senior Taylor Watkins. Seeling would score again for a fourth time followed by freshman Haleigh Seeling for the fifth.

TMHS seniors Mackenzie Olver and Mercedes Cordero said that for never having seen the Wheat Ridge Farmers in action, the Falcons did as well as they could have expected under the circumstances.

TMHS freshman Tuvy Vu (22) pursues Wheat Ridge Naomi Fireman Schiavoni (4) near the the Falcons goal line on Thursday for a non-conference game. Colorado visited Juneau for two non-conference games against both Juneau high schools. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

TMHS freshman Tuvy Vu (22) pursues Wheat Ridge Naomi Fireman Schiavoni (4) near the the Falcons goal line on Thursday for a non-conference game. Colorado visited Juneau for two non-conference games against both Juneau high schools. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

“There’s definitely room for improvement but we’re still a growing team,” Cordero said. “We have a lot of new girls but they’re all learning really fast and taking direction really well, which is good, that’s something you want to see in a player, so I’m really proud of all of them.”

Olver added: “I think our team grew a lot more cohesive today, I think we’re communicating a lot better, so I’m just looking forward to being able to connect those passes as we move forward this season.”

JDHS junior Milina Mazon (11) keeps the ball inbounds against the Colorado visiting team Wheat Ridge Farmers for a rainy non-conference game on Saturday at Adair Kennedy field. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

JDHS junior Milina Mazon (11) keeps the ball inbounds against the Colorado visiting team Wheat Ridge Farmers for a rainy non-conference game on Saturday at Adair Kennedy field. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Saturday’s game at Adair Kennedy field started off in the rain which eventually gave way to a light drizzle that remained throughout, however, the less than ideal weather never deterred the Crimson Bears from giving it their best effort; the Farmers just proved to be too much, scoring the first five goals in the first half and the last two in the second. Wheat Ridge senior Sadie Powers took credit for her team’s first two goals, followed by Taylor Watkins, then Seeling for two and lastly senior Ella Strafface for the final two.

JDHS junior Ruby Rivas passes the ball away from Wheat Ridge junior Nina Hubbard (16) on Saturday for a non-conference game at Adair Kennedy field. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

JDHS junior Ruby Rivas passes the ball away from Wheat Ridge junior Nina Hubbard (16) on Saturday for a non-conference game at Adair Kennedy field. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

JDHS coach Matt Dusenberry said he appreciated the opportunity to be humbled, adding that ultimately that’s how teams grow to their fullest potential.

“It’s fantastic to be put in a position where we’re going to be challenged like that in different ways, so it was absolutely a learning opportunity for us,” Dusenberry said. “They had a flurry of goals there in the first half and then it was nice to come into the second half and work on our shape a little bit, see if we could be a little bit more composed because to me that was the biggest difference between them and us. I think being able to play against a quality team like this is awesome.”

JDHS sophomore Cerys Hudson (6) makes a steal against Wheat Ridge senior Acacia Seeling (11) on Saturday at Adair Kennedy field for a non-conference game during the Colorado team’s two game visit to Juneau. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

JDHS sophomore Cerys Hudson (6) makes a steal against Wheat Ridge senior Acacia Seeling (11) on Saturday at Adair Kennedy field for a non-conference game during the Colorado team’s two game visit to Juneau. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Next up for JDHS, the Bears travel to Anchorage for three non-conference games on Thursday, Friday, Saturday against Bettye Davis East Anchorage High School, Grace Christian High School and Palmer High School. TMHS travels to Ketchikan for two conference games against Kayhi on Friday and Saturday.

Wheat Ridge senior Taylor Watkins dribbles the ball on Saturday against JDHS at Adair Kennedy field for a non-conference game. Watkins scored two goals on Thursday against TMHS and one goal against JDHS on Saturday. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Wheat Ridge senior Taylor Watkins dribbles the ball on Saturday against JDHS at Adair Kennedy field for a non-conference game. Watkins scored two goals on Thursday against TMHS and one goal against JDHS on Saturday. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

• Contact reporter Jonson Kuhn at jonson.kuhn@juneauempire.com.

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