It’s almost always ideal to save your best for last in any sport, and that’s just what the Crimson Bears girls’ soccer team did on Friday.
Juneau-Douglas thumped Ketchikan 7-0 on senior night at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park, properly sending off the upcoming graduates in their final home game wearing the crimson and black.
“I think we accomplished what we came out to do, and that feels good,” senior forward Sarah Tarver said. “(Coach) Matt (Dusenberry) said we played awesome, and we all felt that it was a good night.”
It was a typical Sarah Tarver game on Friday as she led the way, once again, with two goals, earning the “Hard Hat” award from Dusenberry following the match. The Kings gave the Bears trouble all year, so ending the regular season with such an impressive win against them is good for the team’s confidence going into the state tournament, Tarver said.
“We know we still have a lot to work on, so we have some things to do in practice,” she said. “We just hope to give it our best (at state).
“We need to play good-looking soccer.”
Junior forward Dorothy Brent also scored two goals for the Bears, while senior Daffodil Alinson, junior Solana Ashe and freshman Rebekka Ord put in one goal apiece.
But while it’s easy to focus on the offense when a team scores seven goals, you can’t lose a game when you don’t allow the opposition to score. Senior defender Melissa Skan made a move to the back line at the beginning of the year, and her presence on defense has done wonders for the Bears.
“It’s important to get those shutouts, because even one goal that gets past you can be detrimental to the spirit of the team,” she said. “I think our defense is working pretty solidly, and everyone has a great connection on the back line.
“Maybe it’s just tonight, but, again, we’re feeling confident.”
Dusenberry said it’s always important to go out strong on senior night. He started as the Crimson Bears’ head coach three years ago, when this year’s seniors were making their move up the soccer ranks at Juneau-Douglas.
“This group in particular, many of them were just up and coming as sophomores onto the varsity squad,” Dusenberry said. “It’s been cool to watch them mature and become an important part of the program.
“It’s a great bunch of kids.”
As the Bears wait to see who they’ll face at state, the focus shifts to erasing the memory of last year’s early exit. For now, this group will enjoy a win to end the regular season in front of the home crowd.
“This was an awesome win because we really came together on the field,” Skan said. “We know the energy was high (on senior night), but that makes us hopeful going into next weekend.”