It wasn't a perfect game, but the Juneau-Douglas High School girls soccer team remained perfect on the season with a 3-2 victory over the Colony Knights on Tuesday at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park.
The Crimson Bears improved to 4-0 on the season with the victory, which completed a two-game sweep of the Knights, who fell to 0-2 after dropping both games by identical 3-2 scores. Colony took fourth place at last year's state tournament and Juneau finished fifth, and both teams returned nearly their entire rosters this season.
"We could have played better," said Juneau's Alida Bus, who had to shift back to center defensive back from her center midfield position because Liza Slotnick was out with a sprained ankle. "We didn't have good passing. But it felt good to know we could play with them when we were missing some people. They're a pretty good team."
Besides missing Slotnick to her ankle injury, Juneau was also missing Greta Thibodeau. In Monday's game, Thibodeau scored two goals but drew a late red card, forcing her to sit out Tuesday's game. The Crimson Bears were also missing sophomores Letasha McKoy and Kendri Cesar, who didn't have enough practices in to be eligible for Juneau's first four games.
All four players should be in the lineup when Juneau hosts the Wasilla Warriors at 7 p.m. on Thursday and at 6:15 p.m. on Friday.
"I think we played pretty good, considering we were down four or five players," said Juneau's Laura Flynn, who scored the game-winning goal about three minutes before halftime.
"It was slow, but it's good because now Colony is going to go home and tell everyone we beat them," said Juneau's Krista Heard, who had a goal and an assist. "We're going to take it to Wasilla."
Tuesday's game opened with a flurry of scoring, as the score was 2-2 before the game's 10th minute passed. But only one more goal would be scored for the rest of the game, and there was no scoring in the second half although both teams kept their opponent's goalkeeper busy.
Juneau opened the scoring when Callan Janowiec made a breakaway down the right side, then sent a nice crossing pass to Heard in the middle for the goal just 1 minute, 24 seconds after play started.
Colony answered 1 1/2 minutes later when Annie Straayer scored on an assist by Kelly Quinn. Five minutes later, Colony took a 2-1 lead when Flynn was called for a push from behind on Colony's Sianna Garrod while in Juneau's goal box, and Amanda Deml scored on the ensuing penalty kick.
Juneau responded in the game's 10th minute as Janowiec again made a breakaway down the right side and centered the ball to Heard for the shot, which this time was deflected by Colony goalkeeper Julie Coston. But Juneau's Crystal Barr was there to knock home the rebound to tie the score at 2-2.
"We came out really strong," Janowiec said. "Nothing hurt us, we just had to keep the pressure up. We can beat the outside defense."
The Colony players said they weren't surprised by the rapid early scoring, although the last goal hurt the Knights.
"In soccer, it's a toss-up. It's a fast-paced game and it's a toss-up when the goals will come," Straayer said. "With our team we have two-minute rules, where we have to play hard for two minutes after we score so we don't get caught up in our glory."
Both teams had periods where they controlled play in the other team's defensive zone for the rest of the first half, but the defenses were up to the task.
Juneau finally broke through in the 37th minute when Flynn took a pass from defensive back Stephanie Orsi and made a long run before scoring.
"That was like the funniest goal," said Janowiec, who was on the sidelines watching Flynn's father, assistant coach Rod Flynn, when Flynn scored. "I was watching Rod and he was trying to help the ball in. That helped feed us so we could carry the momentum into the second half."
"I've been practicing my moves," Flynn said. "I've been watching Shakira videos (a Japanese dancer). Shakira should be a soccer player."
The second half was spent largely in the midfield area, but near the end of the game Colony got a few dangerous runs in with about five minutes to go. However, Juneau was able to reverse the field and the Crimson Bears were attacking Colony's goal when the game finally ended.
Juneau and Colony will play again on May 10 in Palmer, when Juneau is on a road trip north. The two teams also could see each other again in the state tournament, which takes place May 23-25 in Wasilla.
Charles Bingham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.