The thermometer up the road at the Juneau International Airport read 41 degrees, but Friday night’s season-opening match between the Juneau-Douglas (1-0) and Thunder Mountain High School (0-1) boys soccer teams felt like 14 degrees.
A stiff, moist breeze swept through the area, and both teams spent the first 15 minutes of the game just warming up. Brysen Mitchell’s goal in the 18th minute signalled his team was at last warm, as the Crimson Bears would pile on four more before the night was up to win 5-0 over the Falcons.
“Kids started the season well,” JDHS coach Gary Lehnhart said by email, whose team travels to Washington next weekend for contests against Eastlake High School (Saturday), Ferris (Monday) and Mead (Tuesday).
Mitchell was joined by teammates Ben Undurraga, Sherrod Miller (2 goals) and Gerardo Ramirez-Leyva on the score sheet.
Despite the loss, first-year THMS head coach Joshua Odum said his team has a high ceiling.
“Fortunately, I have a fantastic group of kids that live for this game,” Odum said of his 17-member varsity squad. “They all want to reach that next level and they will all put in the effort that we require to get there. … These next few weeks are definitely going to show their true colors.”
All four Juneau high school soccer programs have spent very little time practicing in the fresh air. As of last Wednesday, the Adair-Kennedy Memorial soccer field was more than 80 percent covered in snow. Thanks to a multi-team effort, the TMHS track and soccer field was finally cleared several days ago as snow berms on all sides of the green attested to.
Look for coming soccer previews on all four of Juneau high school teams.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.