The Thunder Mountain High School boy’s soccer game found an unfamiliar foe on a familiar pitch Saturday as the Falcons took on visiting West Anchorage (6-2-2) at JDHS’ Adair Kennedy Field.
The Falcons (1-4-1) set a school record, scoring their first goals ever against an Anchorage team and sophomore Ben Jahn did it twice.
“That is a huge boost,” TMHS coach Sam Greely said. “Ben is a great player. He is everything you can ask for in a high school athlete. He is really trying to get better and he is good to start with.”
Jahn scored both in the second half. The first came on a penalty kick against the West goalie and Jahn banged the shot past the right hand of the Eagles keeper; the second came from midfield unassisted.
“And he is just a sophomore,” Greely said. “That shot was freakish.”
West started attacks as soon as the game began, putting two attacking runs against keeper Shawn Stearns, one of numerous junior varsity players stepping up on the pitch to fill in for players attending musical festival. Absent were Stephen Ringle, Rafael Sales, Patrick Escorrido and goalie Jasper Soriano.
“Once again our junior varsity showed that they can swing,” Greely said. “Our second team wasn’t necessarily our second team. They could hang.”
Stearns closed the door on the attacks with the help of Nick Banaszak, Villi Tupou and Allen Shaw. West’s Max Osgood crossed a pass to Joshua Contreras who kicked it from the air for the first score of the game just 10 minutes into the match. That score would stand through the half. West’s Muharem Selimi intercepted a pass on the opening play of the second half and beat the keeper to give the Eagles a 2-0 lead. The Falcons got numerous drives going but failed to complete the attacks.
“We need to link our passes together a lot better,” TMHS assistant coach Andrew Flansaas said. “There is too much of a separation between the offensive guys and the defensive guys. If we can fill that space in with players from the defense to the offense that will help us out a lot. Just a pass from one guy to the next, link it together, pass-by-pass straight up the field. We started to do that towards the end, but we still trying to hard to put it straight up. We need to slow down, get some passes together and then move forward. I felt like we were rushing a little bit.”
Jahn notched his first goal to make it 2-1 as he took such a linked and completed pass and pushed up field only to be fouled for the penalty kick.
The Falcons’ Stearns made multiple saves and the TMHS kept the ball off the pitch for a stretch of 10 minutes before the Eagles broke through once again. West’s Selimi blasted a left-footer that caromed off Stearns diving hands for a 3-1 Eagles lead.
The Eagles’ Abduraman Dauda was taken down on a run near the goalie’s box and West teammate Conor Stearns torpedoed the penalty kick for a 4-1 advantage.
West added their last score on a push by Abdou Sallah and Keanuu Eraso who got the ball to Joshua Contreras for a 5-1 lead.
Jahn drew a gasp from both benches as he blasted a midfield shot straight on past the goalie for a 5-2 final.