The Juneau-Douglas boys soccer team closed out its four-game road trip to Spokane, Wash., with a 2-0 loss to perennial Washington power Ferris High School on Saturday.
But that wasn't enough to dampen the spirits of Juneau coach Gary Lehnhart, whose team posted a 2-1-1 record on the trip.
``I never would have expected that,'' Lehnhart said Saturday just before boarding his plane for the return to Juneau. ``We played much better than I thought we would this early in the season. One thing that really surprised me was how well we're doing on offense. These season-openers are more developmental in nature, and I'm usually more concerned that we get the season off on the right foot than I am about our record.''
Juneau opened the trip on Wednesday with a 3-3 tie against Mead High School, then claimed a 3-2 victory over Mount Spokane on Thursday.
Juneau center-midfielder Justin Dorn, who now has seven goals and one assist this season, continued his hot start by scoring two goals in the Crimson Bears' 3-1 victory over Gonzaga Prep on Friday.
Dorn opened Friday's scoring by knocking in a rebound of a shot by Juneau's Robert Lossett, making it 1-0 Juneau in the game's 26th minute. Jose Butler of Gonzaga Prep tied the score in the 38th minute of the first half as he knocked in a rebound of a free kick.
Just two minutes into the second half, Dorn scored an unassisted goal on what Lehnhart described as a ``brilliant shot'' to give Juneau the lead for good. Jeremy Gleason added an insurance goal in the 24th minute of the second half, scoring unassisted on a free kick.
Troy Choquette marked Gonzaga Prep's top player, Nick Ascolese, who will play college soccer for NCAA power Santa Clara next year. Lehnhart said Choquette's defense took Ascolese right out of the game. Lehnhart also said Juneau goalkeeper Zuriel Ebron played ``a beautiful game. He played really strong.''
On Saturday, Ferris took a 1-0 lead in the last minute of the first half when David White headed in a corner kick. Evan Cummings scored in the 33rd minute of the second half, knocking in a rebound off the post for the final Ferris score.
``Ferris played well and there's nothing to be ashamed about,'' Lehnhart said of the loss, which came to the 1997 Washington state champion. ``We were making some plays, but we just started to run out of gas in the second half.''
Lehnhart said Luke Knowles played well in midfield for Juneau, as did Travis Croteau on the wing in midfield. He also said Jeremy Gleason gave the team solid play all weekend.
Juneau's next games are April 28-29 against Ketchikan in Juneau, but Lehnhart said the team may play an alumni squad a week earlier.
Ketchikan, Juneau boys split
The Juneau-Douglas High School junior varsity boys soccer team rebounded from a 5-2 loss to the Ketchikan varsity on Friday with a 2-0 shutout victory in Saturday's rematch at Walker Field in Ketchikan.
Lee Sullivan scored Juneau's first goal on a penalty kick in the game's 16th minute on Saturday. Chris Frank added an insurance goal with four minutes left in the game, scoring on a crossing pass from Kalon Wright from the right wing. Brandon Mahle earned the shutout in goal for Juneau.
``He played very well this game and he made up for some mistakes he made on Friday,'' Juneau coach Colin Barton said of Mahle. ``He played with authority today, and when he plays with authority he plays well. He's a good keeper when he plays with authority.''
In Friday's game, Juneau fell behind 2-0, but Zach Essary scored late in the first half to close the margin. Cal Craig scored on an assist from Essary in the 10th minute of the second half to tie the score, but Juneau allowed three ``simple goals'' late in the game for the loss, Barton said. Barton said freshman midfielder Lee Sullivan and freshman defender Kirk Mearig both played well in Friday's game.
``We were playing against a varsity team, and there's a physical difference between freshmen and seniors,'' Barton said. ``We had seven freshmen playing. But it looks like a good future for Juneau High School. This is the best JV team I've seen in Alaska. This team beats last year's team (that went 7-1, including a two-game split with Ketchikan).''