Juneau-Douglas High School’s girls soccer squad fell to West Anchorage High School in the quarterfinals of the state tournament Thursday in Anchorage, sending the Crimson Bears to the consolation bracket and ending their bid for the title.
JDHS lost 4-0 after giving up three goals in the first half. The girls clamped down defensively in the second half, but couldn’t cut into West’s substantial lead. Eagles junior Rosie Rush harried JDHS’ back line from the forward position, scoring twice including the game’s concluding goal, a controversial penalty kick with 18 minutes left in the game.
Rush said her team came into the game knowing they had to contain JDHS in the air.
“Their players use their heads a lot because they’re tall, so we tried to cover that a lot,” Rush said. “We had to be more aggressive through the air.”
JDHS coach Matt Dusenberry said West jumped on the game quickly and seized control before his team could respond.
“They came out right from the get-go, looking to win the ball and play quick,” said Dusenberry. “We struggled a little bit and eventually we settled down but they already had three in hand.”
Senior Rylee Landen won player of the game for the Crimson Bears. Landen played an aggressive game in the middle against a physical Eagles team, which stifled JDHS’ talented midfielders for parts of the game.
“I thought Rylee had a great game and created a couple chances for us,” Dusenberry said. “It was great to see.”
West Anchorage coach Num Tindle, coaching in his team’s first state tournament appearance in nine years, knew his team would have to own the midfield to pull off a win.
“I thought we controlled the midfield,” Tindle said. “From reports and what we’ve seen, we knew they were good in the midfield, so we had to make sure and solidify and win that midfield battle.”
Being in their first state tournament in a while, West enjoyed their freedom from expectations.
“I think we were pretty loose, we had nothing to lose and everything to gain and win, so there wasn’t a lot of pressure and we could just go out there and play free football,” Tindle said.
The Crimson Bears ended their season with a 9-3 record.