Freshman striker Nicole Lupro celebrated her 15th birthday Saturday afternoon by scoring three goals as the Juneau-Douglas High School girls soccer team completed a two-game sweep of the Ketchikan Kings with a 6-0 victory.
But Lupro's real gift could come later, if her performance translates to more playing time. Lupro didn't play in the Crimson Bears' 8-0 victory over Ketchikan Friday night at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park as Juneau used two different squads against the Kings. Saturday's team had mostly junior varsity and second-string players, and only goalkeepers Amy Henderson and Amanda Krafft saw action in both games.
"I'm hoping the coach will want to play me more," Lupro said after Juneau clinched the lone Southeast berth in the state tournament with the weekend sweep. "The second half was a lot better than the first, once we got a couple more goals."
In Saturday's game, Juneau took a 1-0 lead when Lupro scored on an assist from Sarah Croteau in the game's 10th minute. But Juneau wouldn't score again in the first half as the Crimson Bears (7-2 overall) were a bit sluggish on offense. Even though the Crimson Bears eventually outshot Ketchikan 31-0 for the game only 10 of those shots came in the first half.
Angela Regalbuto scored an unassisted goal 20 seconds into the second half to make it 2-0, then Croteau fed Lupro for another score in the 14th minute of the second half. While there was no official assist given on the next goal, when Krista Heard knocked in a rebound off goalkeeper Danette Kahle three minutes later, Lupro took the initial shot that set up the score. Lupro then scored on an assist from Heidi Denton in the 26th minute of the half and Ashley Peterson added an unassisted score four minutes later for the last goal of the game.
"We didn't really play with a lot of enthusiasm in the first half," Lupro said. "When the ball was in the air we didn't try to win it like we did in the second half."
"A lot of us didn't get to play yesterday," Croteau said. "We've been working on that play (the one she and Lupro connected on for two goals), where we send it up the side then pull back 10 yards to get some space."
In Friday night's game, Juneau took awhile to put the ball in the net but things clicked once the Crimson Bears got on the scoreboard. Emily Smith lofted in a long shot for the first goal in the game's 15th minute, then Crystal Barr scored on an assist from Ella Magallanes five minutes later. In the 32nd minute, Leah Krafft scored off a rebound of a shot by Liza Slotnick to make it 3-0. Laura Flynn scored in the 36th minute on an assist from Barr, and Leah Krafft scored an unassisted goal in the 38th minute to give the Bears a 5-0 lead at halftime.
Magallanes scored on a rebound of a shot by Alida Bus in the first minute of the second half, then Magallanes scored on an assist from Erin Flynn eight minutes later to make it 7-0. Barr scored on an assist from Kendri Cesar midway through the half to close out the scoring.
"That officially closes the book because that means we get to go to state now," Slotnick said.
"it was a good game, we played well," Juneau's Olena Lundquist said. "We needed some more shots to go in."
Juneau outshot Ketchikan 42-2 as the Crimson Bears kept Ketchikan goalkeeper Tesia Dobryndia busy.
"I think we took a lot of shots, but we could have had more accuracy," Erin Flynn said. "We weren't as focussed in the second half. Maybe we didn't win as many balls as we should have."
The two victories drop Ketchikan's record to 0-4 on the season, with all four losses coming to Juneau by a combined score of 28-0. Ketchikan coach Kay Jones said her team will play a couple of games in Prince Rupert and Terrace, British Columbia, and that will be the entire season for her squad.
"These girls are light years from where they were when we started this spring, but I figure we're about six years behind Juneau in our development," Jones said. "We lost our field to the baseball team after the first weekend in April, and we've been having to share an elementary school field with the boys. We're practicing inside in the gym twice a week. We needed to get these girls out to where they could feel what a full-sized field is like."
Charles Bingham can be reached at email@example.com.