Time ran out on the Juneau-Douglas High School girls soccer team Saturday night.
The Crimson Bears were setting up a corner kick late in their game with the Colony Knights when time expired before Juneau could get the play off, leaving the two teams tied 2-2 in action at the Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park soccer/football field. The Knights beat Juneau 3-2 on Friday in the season-opener for Colony.
``That last corner could have been something,'' Juneau senior defender Hannah Slotnick said. ``Then again, it could have gone out of bounds.''
This weekend's games were the first real test for the Crimson Bears, who swept a two-game series at Ketchikan two weeks ago.
Juneau (2-1-1 this season) didn't have much of a problem with Ketchikan, which was playing the first varsity girls games in school history. So the two-time defending State Invitational runner-up Crimson Bears, who lost nine players to graduation, were looking forward to playing Colony (1-0-1) this week since the Knights return nearly everyone from a team that went 14-1-1 last season.
``For us, this was a personal victory,'' Slotnick said. ``All but six of us hadn't played a real game against a varsity team before.''
But Colony coach Lorie Miner was having none of Juneau coach Sandi Wagner's pre-series claims that this is a rebuilding year for the Crimson Bears. Miner said she wanted to bring her team down to Juneau because it's a strong program that will challenge her team.
``It's good to come down to Juneau and play,'' Miner said. ``Even though Sandi says she's rebuilding, she's lying. There's a strong program here. Let's just put us and Juneau into the state tournament. I'd like that.''
In Friday's game, Juneau's downfall proved to be one basic Colony play -- on corner kicks the Knights position four to six players in a cluster a few yards in front of the far post and they all break in different directions as the ball is kicked. All three Colony goals were scored on headers from corner kicks using variations of this play.
Colony opened the game's scoring on its first possession, a little more than a minute into the game, as Katie Rose headed in a corner kick from Amber Haralson. Juneau tied the game five minutes later when Ella Magallanes stripped the ball off a Knight at midfield and then scored on a breakaway. That was the only scoring in the first half, although the Crimson Bears had several scoring chances where shots went just wide of the net or right to Colony goalkeeper Brooke Thomas.
In the second half, just after Magallanes hit the top crossbar with a shot, Kelly Quinn gave Colony a 2-1 lead in the 11th minute as she headed in a corner kick from Amy Van Dyke. Grace Borland made it 3-1 in the 29th minute of the half as she headed in a corner kick by Quinn. Krystle Llanto, who hadn't been able to connect on at least four early game scoring chances, scored for Juneau with about two minutes left in the game, on a breakaway with an assist from Erin Flynn.
``We're always looking for the cross,'' Borland said.
``It felt good to convert those,'' Rose said. ``I don't think we were thinking we were safe after the second goal because it doesn't take long to score the other way. But when we're open, we look to finish. I feel we're pretty solid this year.''
The Crimson Bears felt they played well despite the loss, and in fact Juneau controlled the middle of the field and outshot Colony 14-6 Friday. Juneau won most of the 50-50 balls (loose balls that can be picked up by either team) on the ground, but struggled when the ball was in the air.
``I think we learned a lot,'' Juneau senior midfielder Nobu Koch said. ``We needed to communicate more, but I think we can get better.''
``They're good,'' said Magallanes, a junior midfielder-forward. ``That got us pumped up. We need to work on getting those high balls.''
In Saturday's game, Juneau scored 15 minutes into the contest as Llanto scored her 10th goal of the season as she took a pass from the left side from Michael Kohan and scored from the middle of the goal box. But Colony tied the game in the 22nd minute as Amber Tubbs knocked in a rebound of a shot by Kalea Garrod.
Colony made it 2-1 in the sixth minute of the second half as Rose headed in a pass off an indirect free kick by Haralson on what was basically the same play as Colony's corner kick set-up. Juneau tied the score in the 26th minute of the second half as Slotnick scored on a penalty kick after a Colony player was called for a foul (a push in the back) while in the goal box. Juneau was just setting up its own corner kick when time expired.
Slotnick, one of only five seniors and only three returning starters for Juneau, said she appreciated getting the chance to take the penalty kick, especially since she wasn't called upon to take a penalty shot during Juneau's double-overtime shootout loss to Service in the championship game of the tournament formerly known as the state invitational last year.
``I have a thing about PKs,'' Slotnick said. ``I didn't get a chance to take one in the shootout last year and it was important to get one that means something. I don't think there's any reason to miss one and last year we missed two in the shootout.''
Even though Juneau didn't win during the season, Wagner felt the team made some improvement from Friday to Saturday. Early in the season Wagner preaches team improvement over wins and losses, so on that note it was a winning week.
``We didn't do some things as well, but our main goal was to go to the ball and we went to the ball today,'' Wagner said. ``We didn't pass as well today, but we weren't standing and waiting for the ball as much.''
While it didn't control the middle the way it had on Friday, Juneau still outshot Colony 12-8 Saturday. But Saturday's shots weren't as dangerous as Friday's that went wide or right to Thomas.
``It was good to see where we're standing against good competition,'' Llanto said. ``We have to come out hard and I think there's room for improvement. Whoever wins the ball usually wins the game, and we need to win the 50-50 balls.''
As for Colony, the Knights were happy to finally get to play a game. Colony was supposed to already have three games under its belt before coming to Juneau, but weather problems prevented the Knights from playing.
``It was fun just to play,'' Quinn said. ``Brooke came through big time for us. And Juneau, they'll always be tough.''
``We just wanted to play,'' Borland said.
Juneau will get a chance to play this coming weekend as both Ketchikan and Wasilla send boys and girls soccer teams in for three days of action Thursday through Saturday at Adair-Kennedy. Wagner said Juneau boys soccer coach Gary Lehnhart is still working on the schedule, but she expects all six teams (three boys and three girls) will get at least one game per day.
``There will be lots of games,'' Wagner said. ``We may have to play one in the day on Thursday.''
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