The Thunder Mountain High School boys soccer team had nothing to gain with their final match of the season as its hopes for a state championship bid ended last week.
So the Falcons set their goals high and played the ASAA Division I State Tournament’s fifth seed West Anchorage Eagles on the road Friday.
According to TMHS coaches, the defense was led by senior Preston Lam and the Falcons were able to hold the Eagles to a 2-0 game at half.
TMHS had excellent offensive chances by sophomore Kajson Cunningham after classmate Casey Knapp applied pressure to West for possession and junior Justin Scussel helped steady the back line with excellent containment, keeping the Eagles talented offense at bay.
West regrouped at half time, scoring five goals to win 7-0. The Falcons had landed just a few hours prior to kickoff and were missing several key players, but the coaches were pleased with the effort and learning opportunity against a quality West team.
On Saturday, the Redington Huskies forfeited due to lack of players so the two sides played 7-v-7 to start the game. Seniors started the game and liberal substitutions to gave all players the opportunity to play.
TMHS led 6-0 at the half on two goals from senior Matthew Spratt and one goal each from Cunningham, Lam and junior Reese Kugelmann. Junior Dawson Menz had one assist from the goalkeeper position, Lam added two assists, Spratt and Scussel one apiece.
The teams switched to a scrimmage after half time with the Falcons giving the Huskies their four seniors and starting goalkeeper.
The second half was an exciting opportunity for Falcons freshmen, sophomores, and juniors to play against their graduating teammates. The game ended 7-1 with Cunningham scoring a beautiful 20-yard low shot on the right corner in the second half.
In a joint statement the coaches said, “We are very proud of our kids and the work they put in the classroom and on the field this year. They represented their school and the Juneau community well. We are excited about what this group will do next year. We will miss the outgoing seniors. They are a great group of kids, and all have bright futures ahead of them.”
Coaches Senior Reports:
Stig Cunningham – This kid puts his head down and gets to work. The first time I ever met Stig was before the first game against Ketchikan back in the 2021 season. I was clearing sidelines of snow and watched this kid practicing all by himself in front of the goal. I went up to him and made introductions and invited him to join the team for the season. He declined due to injury but said that he would come out next year. He stuck to his word and even brought his “little” brother along with him.
Ben Erickson – One of our senior captains, Ben started out under a group of 2 talented upperclassmen groups and pushed himself to compete for a starting spot his junior year. One of his defining moments was when he subbed in for his injured older brother in the 2021 championship game and then made sure he stayed on the pitch for the rest of his high school career.
Preston Lam – The P for Preston also stands for passion. He is one of the most driven kids I’ve ever met and was always up for any task, big or small. Preston came in as a sophomore and immediately made his presence felt. He formed a formidable on-field bond with his older brother, Phillip and Ammon Kawakami for a couple of years. This year, Preston took the leadership opportunity presented to him and was always present and supportive of his peers.
Tristan Laremore – A newcomer his senior year, Tristan displayed leadership in his own way. He always volunteered for tasks and never complained. His attitude was a model for his peers.
Matthew Spratt – A converted defender from striker, Spratt stepped up to the challenge this year to put his mark on the game. He eventually got some time to shine up top but his team-first attitude to play where we needed him was appreciated.
MJ Tupou – When we were able to finally drag him off of a basketball court, we were rewarded with a ready to do anything attitude. While this usually landed him on defense, he took some spells at striker and was a true team player, willing to do whatever we needed to help the team at any time.