The Juneau-Douglas High School girl’s soccer team found themselves on the defensive side of the pitch against the Chugiak Mustangs over the weekend, falling 10-0 on Friday and 5-0 Saturday.
“Chugiak is a really good side,” JDHS coach Matt Dusenberry said. “You can see that. And we are young, we are very young this year. We can take a side like that and hopefully learn some things and continue to get better at what we are doing.”
The Mustangs have a solid team of Olympic Development players and all-state selections that include Holly Brehmer, Tori Fishburn, Jessi Beverlin, and Sierra Humphrey. Standouts Tristyn Hall, who did not make the trip, and Catherine Jorgensen, who did not play due to injury, are also on the roster.
Brehmer waited just two minutes into the match before scoring unassisted on Friday, the first of her five contributing points.
Molly Romero gave the Mustangs a 2-0 lead six minutes later on a nice pass by Beverlin.
Beverlin tallied unassisted three minutes later and then assisted on Brehmer’s second goal for a 4-0 Chugiak first half advantage.
Despite being over matched, the Crimson Bears continued to try and push the action and stayed positive. JDHS put the ball up and over initial pressure, an improvement from their previous match. They also looked to play on won balls instead of just kicking them away.
“The fact that we didn’t hang our heads and continued to battle and get people some minutes and experience against a good side is a positive,” Dusenberry said.
Freshman Meranda Frenzel was one of many Crimson Bears who continued to stay in the thick of the action and was awarded the team’s Hard Hat acknowledgment on Friday.
“I feel really good about it, I really tried my best this game,” Frenzel said. “It feels really good to be in a match against such a strong team. You have to work really hard. We learned a lot about communication and that we need to pressure the ball more and just never giving up.”
Friday’s second half saw the Mustangs net up six more scores: Ashleigh Sitz at the 34 minute mark (assist Brehmer), Romero at the 32 minute mark (assist Beverlin), Beverlin (30 min., AST Brehmer) Alexis Day (21 min., AST Romero), Day (4 min., AST Brehmer), and Megan Bear (1 min., free kick).
“We are in a four team battle for getting into state from our conference,” Chugiak coach Paul Brehmer said. “Dimond and Service are always tough, and South has a history of being competitive. Juneau has always been a good side to play against and although we have more experience this season I liked that they are so competitive and did not stop playing.”
On Saturday that competitiveness kept the Crimson Bears within striking distance at the break, trailing just 1-0 as the Mustang’s Brehmer scored eight minutes into the game on an assist by Hannah Baskin. The Crimson Bears played better team defense, which prevented Chugiak from getting clean looks at the net and put more pressure on the ball.
The Mustang’s would score four goals in the second half.
“I think we just got tired,” Dusenberry said. “It is tough to play hard defense for 80 minutes. That is the difficulty of not being outside too much. We need to work on things like that on a big field. No excuses, they were good at putting a body on the ball and we struggled with committing to that.”
Two of Chugiak’s goals came on set pieces. With 19:40 remaining Beverlin scored on a thrown in by Megan Bear and with 6:59 remaining Janissa Arzie hit off a corner kick by Bear.
At the 14:55 mark Marlo Smith scored unassisted and with two minutes left Romero scored off a through ball.
“Overall it is a positive considering yesterday’s result,” Dusenberry said. “To come in and battle hard. The kids picked up some things from before and we put it into play today.”
Eliza Walker earned the team’s Hard Hat honor for continued improvement with new position responsibilities from last season. Kymberlee Kelly, Katline Barrows and Talyn Ramos did not play this weekend due to prior commitment or injury.