The Juneau-Douglas High School boys soccer team played with a man advantage for nearly three-quarters of Thursday night's game against the Service Cougars, but barely escaped with a 1-0 victory at Anchorage Football Stadium.
"Service is playing well," Juneau boys coach Gary Lehnhart said. "They're maybe the hottest team in Anchorage right now."
In girls action on Thursday, the defending state champion Cougars knocked off the Crimson Bears 6-1. Both Juneau teams play Dimond today (the girls at 1 p.m. and the boys at 9 p.m.) and both teams play Chugiak on Saturday (girls at 2 p.m. and boys at 4 p.m.), with all the games at AFS.
Lehnhart said the Crimson Bears (7-3-1 overall) had a lot of scoring opportunities early in the game, but Service (6-3-2) was able to keep Juneau from finding the net. But midway through the first half, about 20 minutes into the game, Lehnhart said Juneau midfielder Justin Dorn broke through and was on his way to a sure goal, having beaten Service goalkeeper Mark Hackett, when Hackett tackled Dorn from behind to stop the play.
Hackett was given a red card, which not only meant he was ejected for the rest of Thursday's game and Service's next contest, but it also meant the Cougars had to play the rest of the game with just 10 players to Juneau's 11. On the ensuing penalty kick, Dorn hit the goalpost to leave the game scoreless.
"It was fast and furious in the first half, right from the beginning of the game," Lehnhart said. "Mark Hackett, their goalkeeper, was playing well. We missed a few opportunities and he made some good saves."
After the ejection, Nate Breaux replaced Hackett as Service's goalkeeper and Lehnhart said Breaux stopped three breakaways by Juneau's Travis Croteau, Dorn and Evan Brinkman. He also said when Juneau had the man advantage, the Crimson Bears changed their style of play and tried to score goals too fast.
"It was a certain goal, which is why there was the red card," Lehnhart said. "If they didn't give a red card, that would happen all the time, the goalkeeper would get beat and make a tackle from behind. But I would have traded the goal for the red card any time."
It wasn't until the sixth minute of the second half, the 46th minute of the game, when Juneau finally scored a goal. Jonathan Rue scored on an assist from Dorn, with the play being set up by midfielder Luke Knowles winning a loose ball.
"On the goal, we took a little more time and we built up the play," Lehnhart said. "You've got to give Service credit, they played well. They created a few opportunities at the end, they got frantic and had a couple of good shots but Zee (Juneau goalkeeper Zuriel Ebron) made the saves."
In the girls game, Service's Stefanie Smith recorded her second hat trick in as many games as the Cougars improved to 9-1-0. Smith has scored eight goals in Service's last three games. Juneau fell to 8-3-1 on the season.
Service jumped out to a 4-0 halftime lead as Smith scored in the game's fifth minute and in the 37th. In between, Molly Palmer and Marcie Alzheimer also scored for the Cougars, who led 2-0 before the game was into its eighth minute.
"That set the pace," Juneau girls assistant coach JoAnn Quigg said. "They controlled the first half. We gave them a good second half."
Juneau scored midway through the second half, in the 57th minute, to make it 4-1. Callan Janowiec scored over the top of Service goalkeeper Lianne Reed, off an assist from Ella Magallanes on a play that saw several nice controlled passes. But Service added two more goals in the last four minutes of the game, by Smith and Erin Gillespie, for the final margin.