It might not have been the result the Juneau-Douglas girls’ soccer team wanted, but coach Matt Dusenberry and his team are ecstatic about their third-place finish in a 2-1 win over Chugiak.
“We just beat the No. 1 seed of the tournament in that match,” he said. “They have a national team player on that squad, so to come out and put it all out there — it was quite impressive how the girls played today.”
Despite losing a 2-1 heartbreaker to South the day before, the Bears came out with a focus. They were not about to lose their final game of the season.
Juneau-Douglas scored two goals in the first seven minutes and never looked back, containing the Chugiak attack for nearly the entire game.
In the second minute of the game, Dusenberry said Lia Domke played a ball from the back line across the pitch to Solana Ashe, who was able to make her way in for a successful shot on goal.
Dorothy Brent then crossed the ball in the box just five minutes later where Rebekka Ord was waiting. The freshman settled the ball out of the air and put it away to give the Bears a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Chugiak scored on a deep shot from one of its backs to close within one goal in the final 10 minutes, but that’s as close as the tournament’s No. 1 seed would get.
“Pretty much the entire match we were winning those 50-50 balls. When you’re playing your third game with tired legs, to have a team effort like that was impressive.”
The Bears’ loss the day before eliminated them from title contention. But Dusenberry said he was happy with how his team resonded after a slow start.
“I don’t know if it was nerves or what, but in the first half we kind of sat back a little bit and our touch was just out of sync. We let two impressive goals in, so we definitely put ourselves in a hole,” he said. “But we came back in and made a game of it in the second half. Dorothy (Brent) had a pure-effort goal within the first eight minutes of the half, so we were back in it and creating chances for ourselves.”
South went on to win 3-0 over Dimond in the title game, and Dusenberry said his team took solace in the fact that it competed better against the eventual champs than the Wolverines’ final opponent.
“We were there to watch the match, so of course that’s how they were seeing it, too,” he said.
While it’s disappointing to fall just shy of a state title, there is plenty of young promise throughout the Bears’ roster, which gives Dusenberry confidence in the future of the program
One thing is for sure: the Bears will be back.