Suffocating defense lifts JDHS girls

Crimson Bears blank Colorado and Colony at Spring Fever Invitational

Posted: Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Juneau-Douglas High School girls soccer team extended its shutout streak to four games this weekend at the Spring Fever Invitational.

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The Crimson Bears defeated Wheat Ridge High School from Wheat Ridge, Colo., 1-0 on Saturday. On Friday, JDHS (5-2) outshot Colony High School 28-0 in a 6-0 victory.

In Saturday's victory, the Bears limited the visiting Farmers (7-2) to just four shots on goal, none of which tested JDHS goaltender Kayla Walton.

"That gives us confidence ... when we have good, solid defense," JDHS co-coach Colin Barton said. "I particularly liked how our four-back line played when they came with three forwards and a midfielder against us when we got caught up a little bit and they countered. They were very quick and countered very well, and in numbers, but we easily took care of them."

Neither team mustered much offense Saturday, but JDHS capitalized on its best scoring chance.

On a quick counterattack, Juneau's Margaret Sekona played a deft leading pass to forward Sarah Christianson. The senior slipped the ball past a diving Sierra Cardenas in the 17th minute for the game's lone goal.

"Lot of credit to Juneau," Wheat Ridge coach Dan Watkins said. "The girls worked hard, they took advantage and they only had one or two opportunities the whole game. That's what good teams do. ... We probably had more of the possession and chances, but it's soccer. Sometimes you have to step up and put the ball in the net and have a player do something special, and they had a player do that tonight."

Down 1-0, Wheat Ridge dictated play until halftime.

The Farmers controlled possession, but couldn't find a way to beat Juneau's stout and organized defense.

"In the first half, we were having some problems working together as a team and connecting passes," JDHS left fullback Annika Ord said. "We were starting to panic. In the second half, we got it together really well."

Juneau-Douglas' defense made sure the 1-0 lead stood in the second half.

Senior captain Brittany Lehnhart delivered a tremendous defensive performance. The central fullback led a four-person defensive alignment which featured Ord, Lindsey Kato and Kristin Jorgensen. Rachel Tarver and Michaela Goade also filled in on defense.

Lehnhart constantly shouted instructions from the back, keeping her players organized and not allowing Wheat Ridge any room to move forward.

"They got it right to perfection in the second half," Barton said.

Walton made four saves in the win.

On Friday, JDHS dominated Colony in its home debut at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park.

Sekona scored a hat trick in the first half to give the Crimson Bears a 3-0 halftime advantage. Christianson picked up an assist on Sekona's third goal.

Jessica Waste, Goade and Jorgensen scored in the second half for JDHS.

The Crimson Bears host East Anchorage on April 27-28.

• Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at sports@juneauempire.com.



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