The undefeated Juneau-Douglas High School boys and girls soccer teams both have played several games this young season, but Monday's games in Ketchikan were the first that really mattered.
Kiel Urata recorded a hat trick as the Crimson Bear boys varsity team overcame two penalty-kick goals to claim a 3-2 victory over the Kings. In the girls varsity game, Greta Thibodeau had a goal and an assist to lead Juneau to a 4-1 victory.
The games opened up a pair of four-game series between the two schools, and the series winners are the only Southeast teams that will advance to the state tournament in late May. So even though both Juneau squads had earned regional rankings in the first National Soccer Coaches Association of America spring polls released on April 5, those rankings won't matter if Juneau loses to Ketchikan.
"I made them very aware," said Juneau boys coach Gary Lehnhart, whose defending state champion Crimson Bears (6-0-1 overall) climbed from seventh to fifth in the poll released Monday for the NSCAA's Region V (Alaska, Washington and California). "Last year we lost the first one, so I think they were a little anxious."
The Juneau girls, who improved to 4-0-0, were ranked ninth in the April 5 poll for NSCAA's Region VI (Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho and Wyoming), but Monday's updated region poll had a bad Web link and was not available.
In the boys varsity game, Juneau fell behind five minutes into the game when Ketchikan's Connor Pihl scored on a penalty kick after Juneau's Ian Brinkman was called for obstruction.
The Crimson Bears tied the score at 1-1 when Urata scored off a penalty kick in the game's 33rd minute..
Urata scored two quick goals midway through the second half to put the Crimson Bears up 3-1. In the game's 56th minute - the 16th minute of the second half - Cameron Mitchell beat a couple of Ketchikan defenders and laid the ball back for Urata to take the shot. Two minutes later, Brinkman sent a crossing pass to Dylan Ashe, who sent the ball forward to Urata.
Ketchikan closed to within one goal with two minutes left in the game on a penalty kick by Beau Poppen. Lehnhart said Pihl was fouled by Juneau defender Richard Isett to set up the kick.
"We had a number of chances," Lehnhart said. "Dylan hit the post and we made a number of good runs where our shots were just wide. Nathan Schroeder had a couple of shots that just missed and Jamaal Bailey scored but was called offsides (to negate the goal).
"Our defense was pretty solid with Danny Hernandez, Ian Brinkman and Matt Kern. There are so many penalty kicks being called right now and if you take them out the 2-0 score reflects the game a lot more than 3-2. We created a lot of opportunities."
Lehnhart said Juneau outshot Ketchikan 16-3 when the penalty kicks weren't counted. He also said he gave the team's lunchbox award to Kern for his play.
In the girls game, Juneau jumped out to an early 2-0 lead before Ketchikan scored on a penalty kick late in the half.
Jessy Post scored Juneau's first goal off an assist by Thibodeau in the game's seventh minute, then Gretchen Dierking picked up a loose ball after a corner kick and scored a minute later. Ketchikan's Elizabeth Harney scored on a penalty kick in the game's 35th minute and Juneau led 2-1 at halftime.
In the second half, Thibodeau made a steal and scored an unassisted goal in the game's 46th minute (the sixth minute of the half). Tasha McKoy closed out the scoring with three minutes left on an assist by Monica Daugherty.
In the boys junior varsity game, the Crimson Bears won 3-1 on goals by Brian Smith, Robbie Sylvester and Kayl Overcast. Ketchikan's goal came on a penalty kick, but JV coach Matt Dusenberry didn't know who scored it. Ketchikan does not have a girls JV team.
The teams conclude the Ketchikan half of their respective series today. Game times are 11 a.m. for the boys junior varsity, 1 p.m. for the girls varsity and 3 p.m. for the boys varsity.