Crimson Bears boys soccer coach Gary Lehnhart felt the pressure build with each season sweep of regional rival Ketchikan in recent years. He no longer remembers the last time the Kings took a game from his team, but admitted he thought KayHi's talent-laden team could steal one of Tuesday and Wednesday's opening games of the Southeast Conference season in Ketchikan.
"Every time we come down here, I wonder how we're going to pull it off," Lehnhart said. "All the kids get pretty excited and this isn't an easy place for us to play."
Juneau-Douglas High School (6-2 overall, 2-0 SEC) opened with a 2-0 win on Tuesday, but the Kings appeared destined to finally break the streak Wednesday night. JDHS dominated the action for the opening 10 minutes, but were unable to convert on a handful of shot attempts. KayHi's offense finally crossed midfield for the first time in the 11th minute and beat the Bears defense with a quick play up the middle of the field and converted to take a surprising 1-0 lead.
"Up until then we really put them on their heels," Lehnhart said. "That really gave them some momentum and then we didn't play so well for a while."
It took 15 minutes before the Bears knotted the score, when Max Smith found an opening on a header after controlling a crossing pass from Adam Nesheim. JDHS then took their first lead 10 minutes later when Aaron Badilla led Ky Clark into a shot against three defenders that found the corner of the net.
Neither team scored again in the first half, and the Bears again dominated the scoreless opening minutes of the second half. It took 22 minutes before Nesheim, who replaced an injured Victor Wilson in the starting lineup, added a score of his own off an assist from Clark.
"Adam came on and really gave us some good minutes," Lehnhart said.
Just five minutes later, the JDHS defense was caught off-guard after throwing in a ball only to have the linesman reverse the call and send the ball Ketchikan's way.
"The next thing we knew the guy was taking a shot and it went in," Lehnhart said. "The call got changed somehow and there was a lot of confusion. Then we really had a battle on our hands."
Lehnhart credited his team for closing out the game hard, despite a tough charge from Ketchikan in the final minutes.
"We had good play from our defense most of the weekend and steady goalkeeping (from Taylor Lehnhart)," Gary Lehnhart said. "Taylor didn't need to make too many saves all weekend. That's the way we like it."
The Crimson Bears resume their schedule by hosting Ketchikan May 22-23 to round out their regular-season SEC schedule.
The junior varsity heads to Anchorage today for what the coaches have dubbed the "j.v. championships" between JDHS and Dimond. Both teams are currently undefeated.
JDHS 2, KayHi 0
Victor Wilson scored 14 minutes into the SEC opener and the Crimson Bears defense held out the rest of the way to breeze to an opening victory.
Wilson, who missed Wednesday's game due to injury, followed up the rebound of a Joe Slagle shot for his score.
"It was the kind of shot that was still banging around in front," Lehnhart said. "Victor was able to get there quick and follow it in."
Neither team scored for the rest of the half - an effort Lehnhart credited to his attacking defenseman, who attacked the ball before allowing the larger Ketchikan forwards to gain momentum.
Slagle punched in another attempt 17 minutes into the second half, after Smith laid back a soft pass to the top of the box.
Lehnhart credited Joe Croteau for leading the defense's shutout by picking up extra minutes with a pair of starters out.
"Joe gave us lots of really good minutes," Lehnhart said. "He plays at flank, and it's a position we expect a lot of running from. He's always glad to play more minutes and he never seems to run out of gas."