Sarah Tarver scored in the 42nd minute, Daffodil Alinson converted a penalty kick in the 45th, and the Juneau-Douglas girls soccer team overcame a spirited effort by Ketchikan’s defense in a 2-0 win on Monday at Fawn Mountain Field.
Juneau improved to 6-2-1 (4-0 Southeast Conference) and was hardly in danger, as Kayhi failed to register a shot on goal in its season opener. But this was not the type of game the Crimson Bears are used to getting from the Kings.
“This is one of the better Ketchikan teams I’ve seen in quite a long time,” Juneau coach Matt Dusenberry said. “They were definitely, to a player, putting pressure on the ball all the time, throughout the game.”
Juneau outscored Kayhi 24-0 in four games a season ago, but Monday’s score was 0-0 until Tarver finally put the Crimson Bears on the board two minutes after intermission.
It was a disjointed sequence for the Lady Kings, with goalkeeper Deandra Banie giving up a rebound in front of the goal, midfielder Jayley Taylor being forced to make a save, and forward Brooke Simmons whiffing on an attempt to clear a ball along the sidelines all in the span of a minute.
Tarver ended up with the ball and played it through traffic across the goal box, where it deflected off the leg of Kings defender Eimy Anzueto and past Banie, who had committed to the ball’s original path. That gave Juneau a 1-0 lead it would never relinquish.
“I’m not so sure it wouldn’t have still gone in,” Dusenberry said. “It still had quite a bit of heat on it. That’s what we ask the players to do in that kind of situation when you’ve got that much chaos going on.”
The Crimson Bears made it 2-0 three minutes later when the referee ruled Alinson was elbowed by a Ketchikan defender in the box.
Alinson’s first penalty kick — which beat Banie to the right post — was called off for encroachment when another Juneau player entered the box before the ball was played. Her second slipped inside the left post along the ground for a two-goal advantage.
When the game ended with the same score 35 minutes later, the Lady Kings were justifiably excited.
Coach Scott Brandt-Erichsen said he thought it had been nine years since Ketchikan played Juneau so close, dating back to a 2-0 decision played in a mud pit on Norman Walker Field.
“Nobody could move the ball,” Brandt-Erichsen said, recalling that 2002 game.
This one was tight despite dry conditions, and the Lady Kings have the play of their defense — and Banie — to thank.
Juneau had plenty of chances in the first half, the best coming when Tarver broke free of the King’s defense and dribbled straight at Banie. She ripped a bullet of a shot from 25 yards out that appeared destined to sneak under the crossbar, but Banie snagged it out of the air to preserve the 0-0 tie.
From there, the Ketchikan defense held its own despite Juneau dominating all the play.
“They were patient, they worked together, they helped keep (Juneau’s) offense in a position where they were not given good shot opportunities,” Brandt-Erichsen said. “They were up to it.”
So was Banie, whose only two goals allowed came in almost impossible situations. In most games this season, Ketchikan will switch between Banie and Hannah Carson in goal so both can play the field.
But Brandt-Erichsen couldn’t make the switch Monday. Banie was too hot.
“Deandra is a stronger keeper and Hannah is probably a little stronger on the field,” Brandt-Erichsen said. “Even if we were within one or two goals, we probably would’ve kept Deandra in goal because that’s our strongest formation.”
Now Kayhi just needs to get its offense on track.
Dusenberry said he thought Juneau came out flat in the first half and allowed most of the play to be contained at midfield. But that changed after the break when the Crimson Bears spent all but a few minutes in front of the Ketchikan goal.
The Kings’ few forays down the field were quickly cut short by Juneau’s defense, though they could’ve been extended with a little more patience.
“A couple of times when we got the ball up to the forwards, they were anxious to kick it through before their teammates were there for support,” Brandt-Erichsen said. “We need to try and place those forward passes where teammates can get on them and capitalize.”
Ketchikan and Juneau will play the second game of a two-game conference series at 3 p.m. today.