Senior midfielder Justin Dorn had a satisfied look on his face as he stood in the middle of the Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park football field after the Juneau-Douglas High School boys soccer team closed out a weekend that saw the Crimson Bears sweep two games from the Ketchikan Kings, and also blanked the Chugiak Mustangs.
"What a beautiful weekend. We got the weather, and we got the games," Dorn said after scoring twice as Juneau beat Chugiak 5-0 on Saturday night. "What a beautiful weekend. That's pretty much all we could hope for."
The Crimson Bears (4-2-1 overall) needed a sweep over the Kings to clinch a return trip to the state tournament, and Juneau came through with an 11-0 victory Friday night and 6-0 Saturday morning. The victories mean Juneau can make its travel plans for Anchorage on May 24-26, when the Crimson Bears will try to improve on last year's state runner-up finish.
Juneau needed the sweep to qualify for state because a two-game series split from April 6-7 -- when Juneau sent its junior varsity team to Ketchikan to play the Kings' varsity team -- was being counted in the state tournament qualification process this year. Juneau's JV team edged Ketchikan 2-1 in the opener that weekend, but lost 7-0 the next day. Juneau's varsity team was already committed to a four-game series in Spokane, Wash., the same weekend, and those travel plans were made before the games in Ketchikan were declared state-tourney qualifiers.
So the Crimson Bears methodically went about their business of making sure they qualified for state this weekend. Dorn scored twice on assists from Luke Knowles in the first 10 minutes of Friday's game, and Juneau never looked back. Dorn set up Robert Lossett for a goal, then scored on another assist from Knowles after Lossett made a throw-in.
Jonathan Rue scored on an assist from Lossett to make the score 5-0 in the game's 23rd minute, which is when Juneau started going deep into its bench as the Crimson Bears brought in six subs. But the goals kept on coming as Dorn scored on an assist from Lossett, then Dorn set up Evan Brinkman for a score just before the half.
Juneau scored twice in the first five minutes of the second half as Travis Croteau scored on an assist from Rue and Lossett scored on an assist from Dorn. Juneau continued to make heavy substitutions, but the scoring continued as Hale Loofbourrow scored twice with the first goal assisted by Lee Sullivan and the second by Brinkman.
"I knew the team we played in Ketchikan wasn't their real team," Ketchikan coach Wayne Kinunen said. "This team is so much more experienced than my team. We always learn from every game, and we'll probably learn more from this game. I knew they would be out for blood, and they got us back on our heels."
"We were just coming out, doing our best," Juneau defender Jeff Fanning said. "We did send a message and we set the tone for the rest of the season.
Juneau defender Collin Daugherty said the Crimson Bears weren't looking for payback because of the JV-varsity split. But he said the victory sent a message about Juneau's team. Juneau outshot Ketchikan 24-4 as Zuriel "Zee" Ebron and Karl Twelker combined for the shutout.
"It was awesome. I'm very happy," Daugherty said. "We prepared a lot mentally for this game. We just wanted to play our game and we knew the goals would come."
On Saturday morning, the carnage wasn't as bad but Juneau still dominated the Kings.
Lossett scored on an assist from Dorn in the game's second minute, but Juneau had to wait until midway through the half for its next score. Rue scored on an assist from Lossett on a play defender Callahan Dillon started from the backfield, then two minutes later Knowles scored an unassisted goal to make it 3-0. Brinkman scored on an assist from Dorn with two minutes left in the half as Juneau took a 4-0 lead at the break.
Juneau opened the second half with a couple of quick goals by Rue, the first on an assist by Croteau and the second on a Dorn assist, which made it 6-0 with more than 30 minutes left to play. But that was all of Juneau's scoring as the Crimson Bears pulled all their starters for the rest of the game. Juneau outshot Ketchikan 18-6, with Ebron and Twelker again combining for the shutout.
"These were make-or-break games for us," Rue said of the two Ketchikan games. "Before this weekend we were preparing for Ketchikan, now we can look at the rest of the state. I think beating Chugiak will send more of a message up north, because they'll tell the other teams what we've got."
"It's kind of a relief," Knowles said. "Coach (Gary Lehnhart) did a good job of building these games up for us, especially last night's game. Last night we really wanted it."
Juneau added an unscheduled Saturday afternoon scrimmage between its JV team and the Ketchikan varsity that ended in a 1-1 tie. Mark Anglin scored on an assist from Richard Harney to give Ketchikan an early 1-0 first-half lead, but Cameron Mitchell tied the score for Juneau midway through the second half with an unassisted goal.
"Just getting these out of the way is big," Lossett said. "Now we can look at the future. These were our first real games of the season in Alaska, and this is where it all starts."
Juneau dominated an injury-depleted Chugiak team on Saturday night, handing the Mustangs their worst loss since the 1984 season, Chugiak coach Ed Blahous said. Chugiak striker Bryan Lance said he was impressed by the way Juneau's players made their first touches of the ball, and Chugiak's Jon Novotney said he was just impressed with the Crimson Bears.
"Juneau's got some talent," Novotney said. "Usually you don't think of Juneau as having much in soccer, but they've got some good guys."
Dorn scored in the first two minutes to open Saturday night's game, with an assist from Lossett after Knowles faked a shot off the pass. Knowles scored 10 minutes later on an assist from Lossett. The lead stayed 2-0 until three minutes were left in the half, when Rue scored an unassisted goal after a corner kick. Lossett scored two minutes later on an assist from Daugherty to make it 4-0 at halftime.
Dorn scored on an assist from Brinkman midway through the second half for that period's only goal. Juneau outshot Chugiak 14-4, with Ebron picking up the complete-game shutout for Juneau.
Dorn finished the three games with a combined six goals and six assists, but he seemed more happy about how the rest of the team scored and how quickly the Crimson Bears struck in each game.
"A lot of people say the first five minutes are the most important of the game," Dorn said of Juneau's early scores in each game. "We try to get something in those minutes because that sets the pace for the game, either be ready to play with us or else. Last year I scored 28 goals and that was half of our team's scoring. But this year I don't think I'll come close to scoring half the team's goals. It says a lot about our team that this year we've got more guys scoring."
Charles Bingham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.