It was the season opener for the Thunder Mountain girls’ soccer team, but that celebration took a back seat to two other factors Friday evening: Mother Nature and powerful team from Juneau-Douglas.
The Crimson Bears took a 2-0 lead into the half and then overwhelmed the young Falcons after the break, scoring seven more goals on their way to a 9-0 shutout at cold, windy and rainswept Thunder Mountain High School. Bears coach Matt Dusenberry said while he’ll take the outcome, the conditions on the pitch were far from ideal.
“I think both teams were affected by the weather. This was not fun to play in,” he said. “It took us a while to get started, but Thunder Mountain is noticeably better. You can see the improvement, and that’s a testament to what (Falcons co-coaches) Moctar (Diouf) and Kris (Coffee) are doing.
“They have some kids with a little more experience, and they made us work today.”
Thunder Mountain’s focus was clear from the start as the Falcons packed it in on the defensive end to try and slow down the Bears’ attack, and the strategy worked for much of the first half. But junior forward Sid Browning found freshman Rebekka Ord up top for a score before putting one in the net herself off a feed from junior midfielder Rebekah Badilla a couple of minutes later to make it 2-0. Juneau-Douglas was never challenged after that.
Still, the Falcons maintained their defensive intensity, at least until the break.
Between Juneau-Douglas’ superior skill and the inclement weather, factors began to pile up against Thunder Mountain and the Bears pounced. Senior midfielder Daffodil Alinson scored an unassisted goal to begin the second-half onslaught and, much like the sky above, the floodgates opened. Sarah Donohoe tacked on a score to make it 4-0, Ord tallied her second and third goals to make it 6-0, and Alinson scored yet again before Cassidy Davenport put in two of her own to set the final score.
“I think they had nine (players) in the box at times, so we can’t play straight. We needed to start moving the ball around,” Dusenberry said. “I think once we figured that out, things opened up a little bit more for us.”
Ord recorded her first career hat trick and if the freshman’s performance is indicative of things to come, the Bears’ excitement over their freshman class seems warranted.
But on the other side, Diouf said facing the Bears in his team’s first game of the season is a tall order, especially considering the nasty conditions.
“It’s a work in progress. We have seen what the girls are capable of doing if we prepare right,” Diouf said. “Taking into consideration the injuries and the fact that we’ve hardly been outside yet this year, those conditions make it really difficult to compete with a powerhouse like Juneau-Douglas.
“But we’re really proud of the girls and they showed what they can do in the first half,” he continued. “Now we just need to build on that.”
TMHS (0-1) is back in action at 5:45 p.m. on April 19 against the Bears, while JDHS (3-1) is at South April 15-16.