The Crimson Bears called on the unicorn of soccer strategies to blank visiting Bartlett 6-0 Saturday evening, securing a perfect finish in their annual Don Ashe Memorial Tournament and toting a perfect 2-0 season record into next weekend's rodeo roadtrip through Anchorage.
The Juneau-Douglas High School boys soccer team's flankers and wings spurred, attacked and even finished offensive possessions rather than deferring to the team's forwards - a strategy often talked about but rarely, if ever, seen in Alaska prep soccer.
"Generally teams tend to put their 'best' players down the middle of the field, so it's pretty normal to get most goals out of the middle," JDHS head coach Gary Lehnhart said. "Everyone talks about playing wide and attacking that way, but it's interesting that this team has enough bodies to get away with it. I think that might be it's legacy. We have enough talented kids we can rotate in and play fast like that."
Despite missing three key starters from their outside rotation due to the annual high school music festival - Aaron Badilla, Ky Clark and Vicente Alinson - the Crimson Bears' perimeter players scored all six of the team's goals against Bartlett.
Joe Croteau opened the scoring and his own hat trick of goals 13 minutes into the first half, picking up the assist from Thursday night's hat trick-scorer against Soldotna - Victor Wilson.
Max Smith closed out the scoring in a tight back-and-forth first half in which both teams had plenty of opportunities at the other's goal, but struggled to center the ball. Wilson again provided the assist, the second of three he racked up during the game.
Croteau's second goal came just three minutes out of half-time. Max Smith's pass from the left sideline crossed in front of the net, where Croteau secured the ball and thudded a hard first shot against the Bartlett goalie's hands from close range before securing his own miss and finding the back of the net.
Croteau scored again from just right of the goal 17 minutes later, using a Wilson assist to push the lead to 4-0.
Chris Hoffman added to the margin with an unassisted netter with just two minutes remaining in the game.
Sophomore Andy Lawson closed the scoring in the final minute with a well-placed rocket of a shot from roughly 25 yards out, getting an unassisted goal of his own.
Crimson Bear Ben Weyrauch was the home-school winner of the tournament's first annual Don Ashe Spirit Award, which was given to a coach-selected player from each team based on attitude, devotion and on-field performance.
"Ben had a very good game defensively and I think he played exceptionally well," Lehnhart said. "It's a well-earned honor for him and something I'm sure Donnie would have been pleased to see acknowledged and appreciated."
Juneau-Douglas' annual roadtrip to Anchorage starts on Wednesday with the first of four games in four days at recent state tournament rival South Anchorage. In the following days, the Bears will also take on Service, Palmer and West Anchorage.
"It should be a nice reunion with South," Lehnhart said. "That will be fun. It's quite a history we have with them over the past four or five years."
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