It’s been a much-needed break for the Juneau-Douglas girls’ soccer team, but the Crimson Bears were back at work in a big way on Tuesday night.
Thunder Mountain, on the other hand, returned from a recent road trip to Anchorage, seemingly much better for the experience. The Falcons’ defense held down the JDHS offensive attack for much of the first half, only allowing two goals before intermission.
But just as they usually do against conference opponents, the Bears broke it open in the second half to win 7-0 at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park in their fourth and final tilt with Thunder Mountain this season.
Aubrey Briscoe and Rebekka Ord led the way for JDHS with two goals apiece, and Daffodil Alinson, Sarah Tarver and Solana Ashe each contributed one score.
“I think we’re doing a good job of connecting and playing as a team,” senior Lia Domke said. “This was a chance to try some new things — some team formations and also different positions.”
As for the long layoff in between games, Alinson said she felt a little rusty. But despite that, this team stuck to the objectives at hand.
“I don’t really like having the breaks because I feel rusty when I play, but whatever works,” she said. “We just stick to the goals we have in the beginning of the game.”
Final score aside, the Falcons played what might have been their best game of the year on Tuesday night.
“It definitely was their best (game) of the season because they played hard the entire game,” co-coach Kris Coffee said. “Unfortunately, we only have a week left in the season and now we’re fit and ready to go. But it’s great to see what they can do.”
It’s been a learning experience all year for this group, but the progress on the field is obvious. While the Falcons would have liked to be in top form earlier in the season, Coffee said this game was good for their confidence.
“Holding them to 2-0 in the first half felt great. We did let in a few more goals in the second, but we didn’t stop,” she said. “It didn’t get us down. We were able to walk off the field with our heads held high, and that’s what it’s all about.”
But it’s the Bears who are now preparing for Ketchikan this weekend before the state tournament at the end of May. After last year’s team fell shy of its ultimate goal, this year’s seniors are taking what they’ve learned and applying it to this season’s tournament.
“It’s going to be tough, but we’re capable of playing a good game. We’re definitely in it,” Domke said. “We can play at the level of the other top teams, so it will be good competition.
“Last year the seniors always said, ‘Leave it on the field.’ I think that’s our motto this year, too.”
Alinson said this team is intent on performing better this time around. After all, it is the last hurrah for the upcoming graduates.
“We got so close last year, and this is our last year on the team. That gives us that drive,” she said. “We’ve been playing soccer here for so long, and we just want to end it the right way.”