The physicality of the Juneau-Douglas girls soccer team’s nonconference game against Soldotna on Friday night reached its peak early in the second half.
Just over five minutes into the period, senior Malia Miller’s path to a loose soccer ball was abruptly cut off by an opposing player, and the speedy midfielder crashed forcefully into the green turf at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park.
A yellow card was handed out, forcing the guilty party to temporarily check out of the game, but as for the banged up Miller? She remained the game and scored two goals in the second half to help keep Crimson Bears’ undefeated season alive. JDHS’ 4-0 victory over the Stars marked their 15th consecutive shutout win. JDHS gave up two goals in a tie to Thunder Mountain in the second-to-last week of last season, but since then, it’s been all clean sheets for goalkeeper Shaylin Cesar and the rest of the team.
“It was really physical but I think we were able to play through it,” Miller said. “In the first half we weren’t getting to those 50-50 balls, they were beating us to it but I think we did better in the second half in terms of work ethic and getting shots off.”
JDHS owned the possession of the first half, and freshman Blake Plummer had some of the team’s best scoring chances. Early on, Miller crossed the ball to Plummer right in front of the net but the pass was too high for the freshman to corral. Later in the half, after Plummer checked back into the game, the pair again worked as a tandem, but the passes didn’t quite connect.
“She doesn’t hold back,” said Miller, who along with Taylor Bentley scored a goal in the first half. “So it makes it easy for us in the middle to find her outside because she’s always making runs.”
JDHS kept up its pressure while playing a smarter brand of soccer in the second half, according to coach Matt Dusenberry.
“We relaxed a little bit and stopped panicking and just huffing the ball,” the coach said. “I felt in the first half we kept punching the ball over Eva’s head. Instead, we started working it out to Blake, working it out to Brianna (Jokerst) and finding Malia and Taylor a little bit. We found a little more of rhythm.”
Cesar made five saves on the night, while Soldotna’s Margarida Mendoca had 13 saves.
JDHS boys light
The JDHS boys soccer team reeled off four second-half goals to down Soldotna 6-0 on Friday night and earn the team’s fourth consecutive victory.
Junior Kaiden Wilshusen and senior Kanon Goetz provided goals in the first half, and the Crimson Bears caught fire late in the second frame, scoring four goals in under 20 minutes.
“I think in these past couple of games, we’ve been getting back to playing soccer because we love playing soccer,” JDHS senior Clem Taylor-Roth said. “That’s when we play together and play well.”
The scoring rally began in the 57th minute as Goetz delivered a long pass to Aidan Hopson, who one-timed the ball into the back of the net while charging toward the right post. Wilshusen scored his second of the game immediately following this goal, and Dugan McNutt and Ronan Davies scored two more goals in the 68th and 73rd minutes, respectively.
JDHS started the season 0-4-1, but turned things around beginning with a 2-1 win over Homer on April 19. The Crimson Bears then beat Ketchikan and Thunder Mountain by one goal entering their game against Soldotna on Friday.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.