When the Juneau-Douglas High School boys and girls soccer teams make their home debuts Thursday, fans will be able to see not one, but two, Alaska players of the year.
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Both of the players are Juneau-Douglas High School athletes.
About two weeks ago boys team member Dylan Ashe and girls player Jessy Post each captured the Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year boys and girls award.
"It's neat that me and Jessy got it," Ashe said. "It's cool to have the girls and boys award together. It shows how strong Juneau has become."
Both players serve as key members of teams that compete for championships seemingly every season.
"It's a big honor," Post said of the award. "I feel it's a huge honor, and I'm proud of how Juneau has helped develop me as a player. (Girls team coaches Sandy Wagner and Colin Barton) have put in a lot of worth with me. I have a lot respect for them."
While both players can change the outlook of a game, Post and Ashe do it in different ways.
Ashe predominately plays on the top of the Crimson Bears' formation, which puts him in a prime position to score goals. The senior, who will play collegiately at NCAA Division I Xavier University, is adept at finding open space, attacking the net and converting his scoring opportunities.
Post, on the other hand, serves as the Crimson Bears' center midfielder. From that position, Post plays the role of a playmaker. It's her job to send passes through to the forwards and launch shots from long range.
"Usually it's to one of the outside mids or someone up top," Post said of her passing. "A lot of times, they look to me to score from far away because I'm playing the center mid."
While both players said they were honored by receiving the awards, the duo also acknowledged that they play with talented teammates and coaches.
Ashe is part of a senior-laden crew that recently returned from a successful trip in Washington state. The Crimson Bears went 2-1-1 in Washington and scored 10 goals while surrendering four.
"There are like 10 seniors on the team and we played on a club team since we were (under 10) so I played will all these guys for a while," Ashe said. "I just trust all those guys, and you can't overlook our defense. They're the strong point this year. We have a solid backline."
The girls soccer team open Thursday against West Valley at 12:45 p.m. and Ketchikan at 6 p.m.
The Crimson Bears girls squad finished third in the state last year.
"It's been a good experience having relationships with the teammates and traveling and starting to play well as a team," Post said. "That's the best part of high school soccer, working with the team. I like to work hard and it's fun."
According to the Gatorade Player of the Year Web site, athletes are selected on athletic and scholastic achievement, as well as individual character.
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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