Soccer balls move quicker on Fawn Mountain's new turf field than the dirt field that was recently replaced.
Perhaps a little bit of that speed has rubbed off on the Ketchikan boys' soccer team, which is off to a fast start in 2010.
The undefeated Kings improved to 6-0-0 on the season Saturday after completing a series sweep of Thunder Mountain, defeating the Falcons 6-0 at Fawn Mountain Elementary in the Falcons' first-ever soccer series.
The win followed a 9-0 Friday victory over the Falcons, who are in their first year of varsity competition after splitting off from Juneau-Douglas last year.
"Scoring-wise it was a good weekend," Ketchikan coach Mike Medford said of 16-0 combined margin over Thunder Mountain.
If Medford was worried that his team would have a letdown after Friday's blowout win and drop a game they were favored to win, Dave Bergeron helped alleviate those concerns by putting the Kings ahead early.
Bergeron scored the Kings' first two goals. He scored in the 4th minute off an assist from Nick Swiger to give Ketchikan a 1-0 lead, and again in the 20th minute after drawing a foul on Thunder Mountain defenders and punching home a penalty kick to make it 2-0.
The Kings also received goals from Gabe Potts in the 63rd minute off an assist from Stefan Medford, Bryan Moody (47th minute from Potts), and Xavier Jones (69th minute). Thunder Mountain scored an own goal in the 69th minute to round out the scoring.
A big margin of victory doesn't necessarily mean Medford was pleased with everything he saw from his team Saturday, particularly when it came to passing.
"If I had to pick a (word) to classify the game (it would be) sloppy," Medford said. "We certainly want to be more accurate and crisp with our passing. ... You can (chalk) some of that up to the rain, but (not all of it)."
The key "to soccer is passing," Medford added. "That's what our team is all about."
But if Ketchikan's passing wasn't as sharp as Medford hoped, the Kings made up for it with good ball control. Ketchikan outshot Thunder Mountain 11-3 in the first half, and continued to dominate the ball in the second half, leaving goalkeeper Case Kuikhoven to watch the action from the 30-yard line for long stretches of time.
It's a pretty big turnaround for a team that, according to Medford, won more conference games in its season-opening series against Sitka - two - than "it probably ever had before."
That improvement will be tested against rival Juneau-Douglas at the end of May.
"When you play against other teams, coaches give feedback," Medford said. "When you play against Juneau-Douglas, their players give you feedback (by scoring goals on you.)"
Ketchikan girls cruise
The Kethcikan girls' soccer team also completed a successful home-series sweep of Thunder Mountain Saturday, defeating the Falcons 4-0 to improve to 2-0-1 on the year.
Briana Guenther got Ketchikan on the board in the 4th minute by lobbing a shot from right to left over the Thunder Mountain keeper, and a ball kicked by freshman midfielder Britta Pihl was inadvertently knocked in by Thunder Mountain's Destry Hansen in the 30th minute to make it 2-0.
Playing with just one substitute, Thunder Mountain never truly threatened to rally, and appeared to wear down toward the end, surrendering a goal in the 77th minute to Jenny Youngberg (assisted by Alissa Weberg) and another goal to Pihl in the 79th minute (also assisted by Weberg).
"Our biggest concern was not going in overly confident," co-head coach Kay Jones said of Saturday's game. " ... (Thunder Mountain) improved quite a bit (from Friday's 6-0 loss)."
The Ketchikan girls subbed early and often in Saturday's game, a strategy Jones said was more about correcting sluggish play than wearing down a thin Thunder Mountain bench.
For the game, the Kings took 22 shots on goal, while Ketchikan keepers Laura Brandt-Erichsen and Deandra Banie were forced to make only four saves between them.
The Falcons, both 0-2 on the year, will get another shot at the Kings April 30-May 1 in Juneau.