Holding a slim 1-0 advantage after the first half, the Juneau-Douglas High School boys soccer team came out with fire against visiting Chugiak.
On the opening kickoff after halftime, the Crimson Bears' Dylan Ashe attacked a loose ball and forced a corner kick. Ashe's hustle sparked a four-goal barrage as JDHS extended its undefeated streak to five with a 5-0 win.
"I thought actually we had a little more urgency in terms of going to the ball," JDHS coach Gary Lehnhart said. "In the first half, I think Chugiak took us out of our game a little bit and we were sitting back more than we normally do. We normally play a lot of pressure.
"Right from the start, they took the ball back and passed it back and we got a corner kick because we immediately jumped on them," he said. "That sort of set the tone."
The win was also the Bears' sixth shutout of the season.
Eli Wray stopped two shots, and Matt Walton made a save late in the second half for the Bears (7-1-1). Defensively, center fullback Carlo Ebron played a very solid game. Going up against the Mustangs' front line, Ebron coolly controlled the back line and kick-started Juneau's attack.
"I'm kind of used to having a center back that's a little more animated," Lehnhart said. "He's such a cool customer. In one respect, it's really nice to have him because he's such a cool customer. On the other hand I wouldn't mind if he yelled and used his voice a little more, but he's doing a great job for us and he was really steady for us."
When JDHS got the ball moving, much of the action flowed through Eric Gullufsen. In the first half, he helped dictate the pace of play by controlling the ball at midfield and finding his streaking midfielders and attackers for scoring opportunities.
JDHS broke through in the 28th minute. Jamaal Bailey fed Ashe a perfect pass up the middle of the field. Ashe fired a shot off the goalkeeper but deposited the rebound into the net to make the score 1-0.
The Crimson Bears had several opportunities to score in the first half by playing long, diagonal passes, but the team frequently blasted shots off target.
In the second half, the team found its offensive rhythm as Ashe once again proved the catalyst.
The senior and reigning Gatorade State Player of the Year made the score 2-0 in the 47th minute. Ashe's diving header on Kabil Seesan's picture-perfect cross gave JDHS some breathing room.
Andrew Flansaas increased Juneau's lead to 3-0 four minutes later when he scored off Colin Flynn's assist.
Ashe completed his hat trick in the 56th minute by redirecting Walton's free kick at the goal line.
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Cary Kelly completed Juneau's scoring in the 73rd minute with a goal off Sam Greeley's assist.
"A couple breaks went our way and it kind of opened up for us," Lehnhart said.
Juneau-Douglas appears to be hitting its stride at the right time. The Crimson Bears have outscored their last five opponents by a score of 23-2.
The Crimson Bears finish the home portion of their season Saturday with a 3 p.m. rematch with Chugiak and a 7 p.m. contest against Bellarmine Prep from Takoma, Wash.
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at email@example.com
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