The Juneau-Douglas boys soccer team kicks off an important three-game series tonight in Anchorage when the Crimson Bears face Service at 6 p.m.
Today's game is a rematch of last year's state championship, won by the Cougars 3-1.
Instead of focusing on revenge, however, Crimson Bears coach Gary Lehnhart is using this weekend to see how his team compares to three tough squads from Anchorage.
"This is the part of our season to see how we measure up compared to the teams up north," Lehnhart said. "We had some early run-ins in Spokane and in Ketchikan we played well."
In addition to Service, the Bears take on West Anchorage on Saturday and face South Anchorage on Sunday.
The Crimson Bears (6-2-1) are starting to hit an offensive stride after scoring 21 goals in two games against the Kings two weeks ago.
Lehnhart said he was especially pleased with how the Bears took advantage of set pieces and got multiple players in on the scoring.
"I think in the games in Ketchikan I was just really pleased with how well everybody did," Lehnhart said. "Soccer is so much of a team game that it's very difficult for one player to determine an outcome. We played as a team really well and we got scoring from a whole bunch of people."
In addition to executing set pieces, Lehnhart looks to tighten up the defense as well.
"Our defense has been consistent," he said. "I'm empasizing this week about putting up some zeros on the scoreboard."
Defenders Cheyenne Sanchez, Danny Hernandez and Nick Campbell head up the Bears' three-fullback alignment. The Bears' defensive formation is designed to create more scoring opportunities and increase the number of forwards and midfielders on the attack.
"We're switching the ball better than we've ever had," Lehnhart said. "We went to this formation for more attack and for more people on top. It seems we're scoring more goals than previously."
Service, the defending state champs, enters tonight's contest at 1-2-2.
West is undefeated at 4-0 and has allowed only one goal this season while South sits at 2-3-1.