Soccer is a funny sport. Scores can be deceiving. Sometimes a win can be a loss and vice versa.
The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Crimson Bears boys soccer team ended their Southeast Conference season on the Ketchikan pitch and played well enough to win Friday but lost 1-0, then dominated the pitch for a 3-0 win on Saturday.
“The first night we played well enough to win but we just couldn’t score,” JDHS coach Gary Lehnhart said. “The second night we scored and we won.”
Lehnhart said the Crimson Bears had multiple opportunities to score in the first and second halves on Friday.
“We just kept missing,” he said. “And we were missing badly.”
A Ketchikan free kick from distance just before the half found its way through a scrum and into the Crimson Bears net.
“We were down 1-0 and were never able to get the equalizer,” Lehnhart said. “That was our first loss and the guys weren’t too happy about it but those things are going to happen. In a way it was good for us to have to deal with that because we haven’t had to deal with that this year. I was pleased to see us come back the next day and, just, we rolled. We took charge early. We scored in ways that we weren’t scoring the previous night, things we worked on, so that was a good sign.”
JDHS scored twice in the first half.
Sophomore Kai Ciambor controlled a deflected shot by classmate Ahmir Parker and got it past the Kayhi keeper in the 25th minute for a 1-0 advantage.
Four minutes later senior Tayten Bennetsen won a free ball in the Kayhi box and junior Xavier Melancon finished it for 2-0.
“In the second half we did a really good job of keeping them away from our goal keeper,” Lehnhart said. “We put them on their heels. We were having problems scoring again but we were in control of the match.”
At the 73-minute mark Ciambor put the game away unassisted, taking the ball down the right wing, cutting it in and putting the shot past the keeper for 3-0.
“For us to come back and win like this suggests that we can be really tough to beat when we play well,” said Lehnhart. “It’s soccer. In all the years that we played in the finals it has been kind of an odd thing when you look at the times we won and the times we lost. It’s a very difficult correlation in terms of who was the better team on the field that day. I would say that in six state championship wins and nine losses, something like, in more than half of them the results should have been the opposite. Soccer is like that. One goal can be such a big difference maker. Even if you are in control of the game, you are hard pressed to get, against a quality opponent, more than three good opportunities a game, and when you miss them, the game can change drastically. And one mistake at the other end and you lose 1-0.”
The JDHS boys are the No. 1 seed in the ASAA DII State Soccer Championships and play No. 8 Homer at 5 p.m. Thursday on the West Anchorage High School pitch. On the Crimson Bears’ side of the bracket is No. 4 Ketchikan playing No. 5 Kenai. The other side of the bracket features No. 3 Soldotna against No. 6 Grace Christian and No. 2 Palmer playing No. 7 North Pole.