A trip to the sun and fun of California was actually a bit of weather and work for the Juneau-Douglas High School girl’s soccer team last weekend. The Crimson Bears (0-2-1) found themselves battling against three teams who were already 10 games into their schedules and in mid-season form.
“We are using these games to just get going,” JDHS coach Matt Dusenberry said. “To find out what we have for the year. And the rest of the state is covered in snow so to go someplace else wasn’t an option. We just want some competition. Sure we would have wanted some wins but this was an opportunity to learn who we are and I think we got better each game.”
The Granite Bay Grizzlies (5-1-2) got goals from Avery Hutchinson and Jodie Higgins and assists by Chloe Dobson and Makenzie Brito in shutting out the Crimson Bears 2-0 on Thursday at Granite Bay. The Grizzlies are one of the tougher teams down south and JDHS had the unfortunate schedule of flying all day and then playing right off the plane. To top it off, it was raining.
“The travel took a little bit out of the kids,” Dusenberry said. “We got a few shots on goal, but not a lot.”
Sid Browning was able to put a couple shots on the frame and Bekka Ord and Solana Ashe and Kiera Clark also put a cleat on the ball, but Granite Bay had possession the majority of the game. Cassidy Davenport was voted the Hard Hat Award, an honor the JDHS team gives out each game for the player who came to work and put forth the best effort they could.
“We are asking a lot of Cassidy this year,” Dusenberry said. “She has played as a wing or forward most of her career and we are asking her to play in the backline this year. This is new for her, but she did quite well.”
The Crimson Bears are going with a three-back line this season instead of their traditional four, which makes for a lot more running for the back liners. The Franklin Wildcats (7-4) of Elk Grove, Calif. stopped the Crimson Bears 4-1 on Friday. JDHS allowed just one first half point against the Wildcats and Ashe scored with an assist by Ord in the opening moments of the second half to tie the score. The score came as a result of Rebekah Badilla pulling back on the pitch next to Ashe, leaving Ord with the ball. Ord turned and played the ball through and Ashe was able to play the ball one-on-one against the goalie. The Wildcats responded with three goals to close out the game.
“I think we factored in on a couple of their goals,” Dusenberry said. “We made slight little mistakes that helped them along. We got a lot more shots that game.”
Anna Gregovich was the Hard Hat winner.
“Anna is the experience we are relying on,” Dusenberry said. “We are asking her to be in control of the three-back line.”
The Crimson Bears got on the positive side of the standings with a 1-1 tie against the Vacaville High School Bulldogs (7-5-3) on Saturday. Rain showers in the Sacramento area nearly had the game cancelled as Vacaville plays on grass and not turf, meaning a muddy quagmire forced the game about 10-miles down the road to a neighboring high school.Ord got the Crimson Bears lone goal. Clark put a shot against the Vacaville keeper and Ord tucked the rebound from the far post neatly back past the keeper into the twinning’s. Ashe was award the Hard Hat for the contest.
“Even though she is an offensive player for us and in the attacking middle, she gave us a lot of energy,” Dusenberry said. “Three games in three days is a lot to ask of kids. Solana was running all over the pitch.”
Professional soccer players run 6-9 miles per game, high school players accrue 5-7.Another luxury of playing on the road was that the Crimson Bears had no other distractions and could sit down after each game and discuss the play as a team.
“We struggled a bit in the matches,” Dusenberry said. “But there were moments that you could see how dangerous we can be. We could have a number of people that can put the ball into the back of the net. Because we were playing people in different positions this was an opportunity to learn and see our comfort level. Our formations look different now than they did in game one.”