Justin Dorn didn't used to be a top scorer for the Juneau-Douglas High School boys soccer team.
But Thursday, Dorn moved to within one goal of tying the team record for scoring in a year as he scored twice to lead the Crimson Bears to a 3-0 victory over the Wasilla Warriors at the Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park football/soccer field. Dorn now has nine goals and two assists this season, and the season's only five games old.
``I think I scored once all last season,'' said Dorn, a junior who is one score off the team record of 10 goals set by current Gonzaga University player Michael Janes. ``When I was younger, I didn't even think I'd make the team.''
Dorn and Matt Wetzstein combined on all three of Juneau's goals Thursday, with Wetzstein assisting on both Dorn goals and Dorn assisting on Wetzstein's score. Juneau could have scored more, as the Crimson Bears held the ball in Wasilla's defensive zone most of the game, but Juneau sent several shots wide of the mark or directly at Wasilla goalkeeper Cole Lund.
``It felt good to finally score because most of those balls that were shanked were mine,'' said Wetzstein, who has two goals and four assists this season. After the game, Juneau coach Gary Lehnhart handed Wetzstein an old, beat-up lunchbox traditionally given to the Crimson Bear player who ``came to work'' that game.
In other games Thursday at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park, the Juneau boys JV team tied the Ketchikan varsity 2-2 and the Wasilla girls claimed a 6-0 victory over Ketchikan's first-year team.
There's more high school soccer at the field this weekend, with four varsity games today and four more on Saturday.
Today's schedule includes the Ketchikan and Wasilla boys at 11 a.m., the Juneau and Ketchikan girls at 4 p.m., the Juneau and Wasilla girls at 5:45 p.m. and the Juneau and Ketchikan boys at 7:30 p.m. Saturday's schedule features the Juneau and Ketchikan girls at noon, the Juneau and Wasilla boys at 1:45 p.m., the Juneau and Wasilla girls at 4 p.m. and the Juneau and Ketchikan boys at 5:45 p.m.
The Crimson Bears (3-1-1 this season) didn't waste much time getting on the scoreboard as Dorn took a pass from Wetzstein and scored in the game's fourth minute. But even though Juneau controlled the action, the score stayed 1-0 until late in the second half.
Juneau had several opportunities to break the game open, but Colin Daugherty missed a direct free kick just before the half ended, Wetzstein sent at least four shots wide of the net, while Dorn and Robert Lossett both had at least two shots each hit Lund in the chest.
Finally, in the game's 66th minute (the 26th minute of the second half), Wetzstein scored off a rebound of a Dorn shot. The play was set up by a corner kick taken by Lossett, and Jer Gleason also got a shot off in a flurry before the goal was scored. The Crimson Bears said they were worried a bit about only being one goal ahead, even though they controlled the game, because all it takes is one fluke score to tie the game. Wetzstein's goal gave Juneau some much-needed breathing room.
``That pumped us up,'' said Lossett, who was one of two Juneau players (Luke Knowles was the other) to play for Team Alaska's indoor soccer team during the Arctic Winter Games in March. ``Even though we play soccer year-round, that helped get us excited for the season.''
Four minutes later, Dorn tapped in a pass from Wetzstein to make it 3-0 and the Crimson Bears could relax. Dorn said it may have taken awhile for Juneau to score, but the Crimson Bears had to keep pressing the action.
``We've been on the other side of it. About the only thing you can do is keep attacking,'' Dorn said. ``Any one of us could have done it (scored), I just got lucky. Why I'm scoring is Robert (Lossett) is drawing their players off so I've got room. Getting the shutout was really something.''
Lehnhart pulled several of his starters - including Dorn, Wetzstein and goalkeeper Zuriel Ebron - four minutes after Dorn's second goal, leaving the rest of the Juneau players to kill the last six minutes off the clock. Ebron only faced two shots for the game, neither very difficult, as he combined with Florian Gruninger for Juneau's first shutout of the season.
``It was great to finally get to play in front of our friends,'' Ebron said of Juneau's first home game of the season. ``I feel pretty safe with these guys in front of me, but I do like a little bit of action.''
Juneau's defense kept most of the Wasilla drives from getting beyond midfield, leaving Ebron time to relax in the net. There were only a few times where it appeared Wasilla may have a dangerous drive building, but most of those stalled before they could fully develop.
``Every game so far we've gotten better and better on defense,'' said Juneau defender Troy Choquette, who anchored the Crimson Bear defense. ``I'm glad we showed the way we did.''
Wasilla coach Blake Livingston said the Warriors (2-1-2) had to adjust to playing on Juneau's dirt field, and he said the ball moved about ``200 miles an hour faster'' on the dirt than on a grass field. But he also said the Warriors knew Juneau would be a challenge coming into the game.
``We knew coming in Juneau had a tremendous team,'' Livingston said. ``This was a huge test for us, to come and play in Juneau's house. I think as a team we came away with some positives. Juneau has to be one of the No. 1 or No. 2 teams in the state.''
Now that the Juneau boys have their first home game under their belt, Lehnhart said it's time for the Crimson Bears to put Thursday's game behind them and focus on today's game against Ketchikan. Juneau needs to beat Ketchikan today and Saturday to qualify for the lone Region V berth in the new state soccer tournament May 25-27 at Skyview High School in Soldotna.
``This is our biggest game of the season,'' Lehnhart told his players.
Juneau JV boys 2, Ketchikan 2
Zach Essary scored with 10 minutes left in the game to lead the Juneau boys junior varsity team to a tie with the Ketchikan varsity.
Essary scored the game-tying goal on an assist from Chris Frank. Earlier in the game, Essary scored the game's only first-half goal on a breakaway set up by a pass from Evan Brinkman.
Ketchikan had a chance to score on a penalty kick in the 25th minute of the first half, but Richard Harney missed the shot. Harney atoned for the miss with two goals in the second half - the first on an assist by Taylor Jones and the second on an assist from Weston Wade. That set up Essary's late score to even the season series between the two teams at 1-1-1.
``We're a lot stronger. We're better than last year,'' Ketchikan coach Wayne Kinunen said of his second-year team.
Juneau JV coach Colin Barton agreed.
``Ketchikan is playing soccer nowadays, it's not kicking the ball and running,'' Barton said. ``I thought we played well, although we may have played better in Ketchikan (April 7-8). We're developing in the right way.''
Wasilla girls 6, Ketchikan 0
Christie Hayes and Kali Pettijohn scored two goals each as the Warriors blanked the short-handed Kings, who were missing about five players to the Southeast Alaska Music Festival.
Hayes opened the game's scoring with a penalty kick in the 18th minute, then Kristen Wien added another penalty kick in the game's 31st minute. Kelsey Myrvold scored on a rebound of a shot taken by Heikki Hanson in the 35th minute to give Wasilla a 3-0 lead at halftime.
Wasilla didn't score again until a brief flurry late in the second half when Pettijohn scored an unassisted goal on a breakaway with 15 minutes left in the game, then three minutes later she scored again on an assist from Hayes. Hayes added another score two minutes later when she scored on a rebound of her own shot.
The music festival left Ketchikan (0-5), a first-year team, short-handed as five players were missing at the start of the game. They arrived in the second half, but several Ketchikan players went down with injuries - twisted ankles, a bad elbow, twisted knees and the like - in what coach Melissa Virtue said was the most injuries of any game she'd seen.
Ketchikan borrowed Juneau's third-string goalkeeper, sophomore Courtney Wetzstein, and Wasilla (4-1) sent 26 shots at Wetzstein in the first half as Wetzstein helped keep the game close. Wetzstein faced 34 shots for the game, while Wasilla goalkeeper Lesa Starr only saw one shot.