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The Juneau-Douglas girls' soccer team returned Sunday from a difficult California road trip eager to get back on track.
The Crimson Bears had a rough time scoring this weekend as they failed to score a goal in three games, but coach Matt Dusenberry said he was happy the team was challenged.
"We certainly got the competition we were wanting," he said. "We were pushed by some teams down there that had 14 or 15 games under their belt.
"But we started to find our game compared to our games last weekend against West Valley where we didn't play up to the way we'd been practicing."
The Bears played their first game Thursday less than three hours after landing in California, only to be beaten 2-0 in a closely-contested affair against University High School.
"We definitely created chances, and for the last 30 minutes of the second half we were the aggressor," he said. "So, from the perspective of comparing it to the week before, I was happy.
"We were able to compete and play well."
The Bears second game was a 0-0 draw against Granite Bay High School, and Dusenberry said the girls had to get used to playing on grass after coming from Juneau where the team plays on turf.
"We get to play on the nice turf all the time where the ball plays nice and gets to our feet right away," Dusenberry said. "So the girls had to get used to playing on grass against (Granite Bay). You could certainly see the effect it had on some of their touches.
"It was still a nice, even game for us to be pushed."
The third game for JDHS was against a strong Davis High School team that is very competitive within the state every year.
"We lost 3-0, but helped them with two of them," Dusenberry said. "They were definitely the better of the two teams that night, but we certainly gave ourselves opportunities to get in and have shots. We played strong."
Overall, Dusenberry said he was happy with his team's performance.
"Collectively, as a group, the girls stepped up to what my expectations were," he said. "And it was nice to see some of the girls that we rely on a little more really step up and show in the games down there.
"Our leaders really stepped up and helped us quite a bit in California."
Next up for the Crimson Bears is a tilt with the young Thunder Mountain Falcons squad, a team that had a few difficult matches against the Ketchikan Kings Thursday and Friday.
The Bears have much more experience than the Falcons and will be looking to get back in the win column in a one-game set on Wednesday at Thunder Mountain High School.