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The future of the Juneau-Douglas High School girls soccer team took to the field Saturday for the finale of a three-game series against the Homer Mariners.
And the future looks to be very bright for the Crimson Bears.
Freshman Kokii Stekoll scored a hat trick in the first 22 minutes of the game - and Juneau freshmen accounted for five goals overall - as the Crimson Bears defeated the Mariners 6-1 at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park.
On Friday, five different Juneau players found the back of the net in a 5-1 Crimson Bear victory. With Juneau's 7-0 win over Homer on Thursday, the Crimson Bears finished 3-0 in the weekend series.
"All the goals were met," Juneau co-coach Colin Barton said of the weekend after Saturday's game. "Everyone got to play, our passing game is working. ...
"We've got a few set plays to get right, but apart from that, everything was fine and dandy. ... The girls got a good run-through in front of the home crowd."
Saturday's game featured a Juneau team that was a mix of varsity and junior-varsity players, and just about everyone got into the act on offense.
The Crimson Bears (7-0) got things rolling in the eighth minute when freshman Rochele Rodman took the ball toward the Homer goal, but slipped at about the 15-yard line. Stekoll was right there to take the ball and bury the shot.
Homer (0-3) tied things up in the 17th minute on a goal by Amanda Conley, but Juneau quickly took back the lead.
In the 19th minute, Stekoll scored again off a pass up the middle from junior Nicole Lupro.
Three minutes later, Stekoll scored her third goal of the game off a centering pass from freshman Gretchen Dierking. Dierking's pass from the left side went by Rodman and several Homer defenders in the middle, but Stekoll was waiting on the right side of the net to knock it in and complete the 22-minute hat trick.
"It was a great game; it was awesome getting the hat trick in the first half," Stekoll said after the game. "My teammates got good passes to me."
In the 32nd minute, freshman Marita Rodriguez caught the rebound of a Juneau shot and hit the ball back at the Homer goal. The shot deflected off a Homer defender, angled away from Homer goalie Holly McCune and rolled into the net for a 4-1 Juneau lead at the half.
In the 46th minute - the sixth minute of the second half - Dierking took a shot from about 15 yards out on the left side that Homer goalie Chantrelle Cousins got a hand on but couldn't quite stop, putting Juneau up 5-1.
Lupro closed out the scoring - and got Juneau's upperclassmen on the board - with a beautiful shot from about 25 yards out on the left side of the field that Cousins had no chance of stopping. It sailed into the upper part of the net to give Juneau the 6-1 final margin of victory.
Lupro - one of the varsity regulars who played with the JV in Saturday's game - said the younger players worked well with the upperclassmen.
"We didn't know how well we were going to do because everyone was all mixed up, but we did well," she said. "It worked just fine. We got some through-passes (on offenses) and the runners were there" to finish off the goals.
Homer coach Mickey Todd said his young team came into this weekend's games looking for experience against a veteran program, which they got. He said the Homer players had a good time on the trip.
"I was impressed with the sportsmanship that the Juneau-Douglas girls had, and the community was awesome," he said. "There were some good friendships made."
The Crimson Bears are off next week, and then will travel to Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley on the first two weekends of May. Juneau's next home games - the only ones left this season - are against Ketchikan on May 16-17.
Crimson Bears 5, Mariners 1
Juneau spread the scoring around in its victory over Homer on Friday night.
The Crimson Bears' first goal came in the 19th minute and began with a corner kick from freshman Jessy Post. Senior Callan Janowiec headed the kick in toward the goal, but Homer goalie Holly McCune deflected the shot, which hit the right goal post and bounced out. The rebound went out to Post on the right side, and she launched a nice shot that got past McCune.
In the 24th minute, senior Olena Lundquist took a right-to-left crossing pass from junior Crystal Barr - which bounced off several players in the middle, including Lupro - and sank the shot.
Three minutes later, Lupro took a shot that McCune appeared ready to stop, but it deflected off a Homer defender, took an angle away from McCune and found the back of the net to give Juneau a 3-0 lead that it took into halftime.
In the 46th minute - the sixth minute of the second half - Dierking lofted a beautiful shot from about 20 yards out on the right side of the field that found the upper left corner of the goal.
Homer got on the board two minutes later when Cousins - playing on the field, not in the goal - hit a shot similar to Dierking's from the left side of the field. It caught the inside of the right goal post and bounced in.
Barr closed out the scoring in the 64th minute when she took a left-to-right cross from Lundquist and hit a shot into the upper left corner of the goal.
"We struggled in the beginning, but they were able to bring it back and put it together," Juneau co-coach Sandi Wagner said after the game. "The kids we put in different spots did well. Tash (junior Letasha McKoy) did well in the back and (senior) Liza (Slotnick) moved up and did a good job controlling the midfield."
Wagner said she also was pleased with Juneau's use of headers in the game.
Andrew Krueger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.