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Juneau-Douglas High School girls soccer coach Sandi Wagner said she doesn't usually remember what happened in past games for the Crimson Bears.
But last year's game against the Colony Knights in the tournament formerly known as the state invitational is one that sticks out in her memory. Juneau led 2-0 early in the second half when the referee decided the crowd was getting too out of control, so he abandoned the game and Juneau was declared the winner.
``The only games I remember from last year are the Colony game, because that was so weird, and the Service game (an overtime shootout loss), because that was a championship game,'' Wagner said. ``I'm not one of those coaches who can go back later and tell you what happened in every game.''
That proved to be the only loss on Colony's record last year, and coach Lorie Miner said the Knights still wish they could finish the game. Even though Colony went on to beat Juneau a few days later, just after Juneau's heartbreaking loss to Service, Miner said the abandoned game is the one she remembers.
Colony, which also had a 1-1 tie with Juneau as the other blemish on its 14-1-1 record last season, will be in Juneau this weekend for a pair of games at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park. The Juneau girls host Colony at 7 p.m. on Friday and at 5 p.m. on Saturday. The games will be Colony's first of the season.
``We were supposed to play Seward on April 14, Houston on Tuesday and East today (Wednesday), but those games have all been canceled because of field conditions,'' Miner said. ``Our practice field is OK, but our varsity field is still wet. We've been practicing, but Palmer and Wasilla haven't. If it wasn't for games being canceled, we'd have three in by now. You can only practice so much.''
Miner said the Knights return nearly everybody from last year's roster, having lost three seniors (only one a starter) while picking up a freshman.
``My entire roster is pretty solid, and the players off the bench can keep up with the starters,'' Miner said. ``My problem is we can only play 11 at a time.''
Colony's front line features Sam Gatto and Grace Borland in the main attack positions with Katie Rose and Kelly Quinn off the wings. Amber Haralson is the center midfielder, the point guard of the offense, while Amber Tubbs and Amy Van Dyke are in the attacking midfield spots. Katie Williams, Marisa Pepperd and Amber Illies anchor the Colony defense, with Brooke Thomas playing goalkeeper.
``Everybody can put the ball in the net,'' Miner said.
The Juneau players, at least those few who were on the varsity squad last year, also remember the Colony game. They figure the Colony players will remember it, too.
``I think they can't help but think about it,'' Juneau senior midfielder Hannah Slotnick said.
``I don't remember much about what happened,'' Juneau senior striker Krystle Llanto said. ``It was right after the second half started and there was a weird call. We had a fire going, and we'd just scored, so I think we would have won anyway. When we played them three days later, we didn't show very well. But we'd just lost to Service.''
Juneau sent a team to Ketchikan two weekends ago, returning with 12-0 and 7-0 victories in the first girls varsity games in Ketchikan's history. The Crimson Bears, who scrimmaged a local women's league all-star team last weekend, are looking forward to a little tougher competition this week.
``It'll be more competitive. This is a much more experienced team,'' Llanto said of Colony. ``We've got a couple of games under our belt, so that will give us an advantage if Colony hasn't played. It'll be good to see where we are.''
Wagner said she's not focusing too much on Colony, only on preparing her team so it peaks at the end of the season. She said she hasn't set a roster yet for this weekend and there could be changes from the team that went to Ketchikan to the team that plays Colony.
``They (the Knights) believe they're the team to beat this year,'' Wagner said. ``I have no idea how we'll stack up. I know Service is strong, but after that who knows. Last year we took second, and we took second the year before, so we must be doing something. I know we're inexperienced. So we'll play every game looking to work on things that need improving and by the end of the season hopefully we'll be peaking.''