Schedule shifts and spring showers did little to dampen the offense of the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé’s girls soccer team.
A “visiting” JDHS bested cross-town Thunder Mountain High School 9-0 Wednesday evening in the teams’ first game of the season.
JDHS got a big boost from a couple of student-athletes playing in their first high school soccer game.
Peyton Wheeler, a freshman forward for JDHS, scored five goals and added an assist. Midfielder/forward Milina Mazon, who’s a sophomore but new to JDHS soccer, added three goals and an assist of her own. Junior forward Nikki King also scored and assisted on a goal. Others registering an assist were sophomore defender/midfielder Natalie Travis, junior midfielder Cadence Plummer, sophomore midfielder Mary Canapary, junior midfielder Kaitlyn Forst and sophomore midfielder/forward Adelyn Buss.
JDHS coach Matt Dusenberry said he’s seen some freshmen play well in their debut games, but Wheeler’s five-goal performance stood out and he could not recall someone else scoring that many goals in their first game.
This season could see more big moments from underclassmen, as last year’s state championship team included 15 graduating seniors.
“We’re a really young team, three or four kids on our team are returners from last year,” Dusenberry said.
That doesn’t mean the team will be short-handed. The JDHS roster includes 36 players — 12 freshmen, 12 sophomores, 10 juniors and two seniors. That makes it one of the largest rosters in years, Dusenberry said.
“It’s a pleasant surprise, because we have a lot of kids who are just giving soccer a try,” Dusenberry said.
He said since it was known that there would be 15 departing players last year, he asked players to talk to students who might be interested in playing soccer. It was evidently a successful recruiting strategy.
“We must have made it fun enough,” Dusenberry said with a laugh.
The young team won’t wait long to play its second and third games.
Friday and Saturday, the TMHS field will host games between JDHS and Ketchikan High School. Friday’s action starts with a 5:15 p.m. varsity game and continues with a 7 p.m. junior varsity tilt. Saturday, the varsity teams will take the field at 2:15 p.m., with junior varsity set for a 4 p.m. start.
Next week, the boys teams are scheduled to start their seasons with a JDHS at TMHS contest scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday.
• Contact Ben Hohenstatt at email@example.com or (907)308-4895. Follow him on Twitter at @benhohenstatt.