Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé junior Cadence Plummer (12) follows through on a goal-scoring kick in the second half of a win against Thunder Mountain High School at TMHS. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé junior Cadence Plummer (12) follows through on a goal-scoring kick in the second half of a win against Thunder Mountain High School at TMHS. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Second-half goals power JDHS to win over TMHS

Tightly contested match was up for grabs after first 45 minutes.

Two second-half goals were the difference in a tightly contested game Wednesday between the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé and Thunder Mountain High School girls soccer teams.

Two goals off the foot of Cadence Plummer, a junior, carried JDHS to a victory against the home team, TMHS. The goal that broke the tie came off an assist from freshman Peyton Wheeler, while Plummer’s second goal came on a floating free kick that bounced in the perfect place for the goal to count.

“She puts it up there and makes the keeper have to make a decision,” said JDHS coach Matt Dusenberry, noting Plummer scored on a similar free kick against North Pole and has scored on a few free kicks over the course of the season. “Those are tough.”

He also complimented the positioning of the line judge to nail the call.

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé’s Milina Mazon (11), a sophomore, looks to pass during the second half of a JDHS win at Thunder Mountain High School while Lorelei Urrutia-Lugo (18) defends. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé’s Milina Mazon (11), a sophomore, looks to pass during the second half of a JDHS win at Thunder Mountain High School while Lorelei Urrutia-Lugo (18) defends. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Following Plummer’s first goal, TMHS kept the ball near the JDHS goal, generating pressure, which coach Cindy Eriksen attributed to solid teamwork and cited as evidence of continued improvement through hard work.

“We’ve been making a lot of progress,” she said. “All of the games that we’ve been playing, we kind of chip away at one thing we’ve been working on. We have a lot of players that have been moving into different spaces, so we’re just kind of seeing what everyone is capable of doing. I think the girls played a great game, and the last piece of the puzzle for us is to get into the final third and score a goal.”

Thunder Mountain High School’s Mercedes Cordero (8) and Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé’s Peyton Wheeler (5) jockey for the ball at TMHS. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain High School’s Mercedes Cordero (8) and Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé’s Peyton Wheeler (5) jockey for the ball at TMHS. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Dusenberry said there seemed to be a moment of panic as TMHS played with aggression, and it was good for his team to see that if a team is pressing high it can be countered by relaxing, playing the ball diagonally and finding teammates.

Dusenberry said the effort of the team’s back line — sophomore Natalie Travis, junior Finley Sullivan and junior Kylie Kato — has helped keep opponents off the scoreboard all season.

“All three of our back line — Finley, Natalie and Kylie — didn’t play on the back line last year, and look at how many goals we’ve had scored against us,” Dusenberry said. “Not a lot when you look at our division, so I think they’re doing an admirable job and they’re working hard for sure.”

Following the cross-town game, both varsity girls teams will now have some time off before hosting senior nights, with TMHS set to play Ketchikan on Friday, May 12, and Saturday, May 13. The Friday game will be senior night for the Falcons.

JDHS will host TMHS Tuesday, May 16, at Adair-Kennedy Field for the Crimson Bears’ senior night.

Winning ways while away

Before the in-town game, the JDHS girls played three non-conference games in Anchorage last week with two wins and a tie.

Thursday the Crimson Bears first faced off against Bettye Davis East Anchorage High School for a 4-1 win. Wheeler claimed the first and third goal with junior Nikki King scoring the second and Plummer putting in the last. Sophomore Adelyn Buss, freshman Kenzie Simonson and Wheeler were all credited with assists, as well, with “Hard Hat” player of the game honors going to Simonson.

Dusenberry said that going into Thursday’s game one of the main focuses he tried to prepare the team for was East Acnhorage’s Shebly Hall-Wright.

“I’ve coached her a few times on some travel trips, she’s going to be playing collegiately next year,” Dusenberry said. “I told our kids she’s going to be able to dribble through and she’s strong and the only goal East managed to get came from her, she collected the ball and dribbled through our kids. But we were still able to manage most of the game and put four in the back of the net ourselves, so it was a nice way to start the trip.”

Friday’s game saw the Bears square off against Grace Christian High School for a 7-1 victory. Dusenberry said it couldn’t go without acknowledging that weather was slightly a factor with heavy snowfall recently hitting south Anchorage, so much so that fans were forced to hover around the track rather than sit in the bleachers due to the excessive amount of snow still left over from recent storms.

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“Honestly, this time of year is tough, we schedule these games in September and we’re obviously making our best guess with weather, so Anchorage has had a heck of a winter this year, so we were just happy that we were even able to have this Grace game because as of Monday it was still up in the air as to where we were going to have it,” Dusenberry said.

Wheeler once again was responsible for the Bears’ first goal and fourth, with junior Nikki King making the second, third and fifth goal and juniors Cadence Plummer and junior Ruby Rivas making the last two. King, Simonson, Wheeler and sophomore Mary Canapary each had assists and King was named player of the game.

Lastly, JDHS finished up their Anchorage tour against North Pole High School, which resulted in a tie game at 3-3. Dusenberry said that while normally a tie in a non-conference game wouldn’t affect the rest of the season,in the case of North Pole, they’re still within J-D’s division, so a tie game could always factor into seeding for the state tournament.

“North Pole is a school we played last year in the semi-finals and they, too, like the East game, have a player that’s going to be playing next year actually with one of our alumni Blake Plummer at Peninsula College, that’s Desi Dutra,” Dusenberry said. “We chatted about her, as well; I told the team she’s quick, she knows how to put the ball in the back of the net and she’s got really good feet in that she’s tough to get the ball off of her once she has it.”

Wheeler scored the first two goals for JDHS with Plummer scoring the third and final goal for the Crimson Bears, and Rivas took the player of the game honors.

“It was a lot of soccer and it was nice to see the kids put forth the effort that they did and get the results that they were hoping for,” Dusenberry said. “Even with the tie, we were controlling most of that match and were getting quite a few shots on goal, it just didn’t quite go the way we were hoping exactly but we still kept ourselves in the game.”

• Contact reporter Jonson Kuhn at jonson.kuhn@juneauempire.com Contact Ben Hohenstatt at bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com or (907)308-4895. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.

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