ANCHORAGE - The Juneau-Douglas High School boys soccer team ended up on the winning side of a 2-1 thriller Thursday against Colony at Anchorage Football Stadium in the 2006 State Soccer Championships quarterfinals.
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In a last-ditch effort to break a 1-1 tie before time expired, Colony crammed all its players in front of the net. The Juneau-Douglas defense rose to the challenge, however, and cleared the ball away.
The Crimson Bears then mounted their own attack, which ended in success. Dylan Ashe, Juneau-Douglas' all-time leading scorer, tucked a shot into the net in the game's final minute to give JDHS the win.
Ashe's goal ended a defensive struggle between two evenly matched opponents.
Fouls also played a role in the game, with referees whistling the Crimson Bears 10 times while the Knights were called for eight infractions.
Juneau-Douglas struck in the eighth minute of play, as Kabil Seesan scored off a Colin Flynn pass. Colony's goalkeeper, Brider Van Ness, dove at the ball but failed to get there in time as JDHS went ahead 1-0.
The Knights recorded the equalizer in the 28th minute, as Bryan Peters scored off a scramble in front of Juneau's net.
JDHS threatened to score in the first half's waning moments, but a free kick went out of bounds as the half ended 1-1.
JDHS boys soccer Road to the championship
Who: JDHS vs. West Anchorage in the state semifinals.
When: 6 p.m. today.
Where: Anchorage Football Stadium.
What's at stake: The winner advances to Saturday's title game.
With the exception of the two goals, defense dominated the first half. Juneau-Douglas recorded five shots on goal in the first 40 minutes and Colony had three.
The second half proved as defensively oriented as the first, but not without some scoring opportunities for both teams.
In the 59th minute, there was a moment of chaos in front of Juneau's goal, but the Crimson Bears' defense cleared the ball out of harm's way.
The Crimson Bears roared back in the next minute. Juneau's Jamaal Bailey fired a shot that Ness barely saved.
The game appeared certain for overtime, but Colony got a throw-in near the JDHS goal late in regulation.
The throw-in gave Colony's Austin Manelike, who gave his team good looks at the net with his strong throws, a chance to break the 1-1 tie. Juneau's defense held firm, however, to set up Ashe's heroics.
"Every time they had a throw-in, we knew we were in trouble," Juneau-Douglas coach Gary Lehnhart said. "I've never seen anybody throw like that."
Juneau will now attempt to carry its momentum into the semifinal game against West Anchorage at 6 p.m. tonight.
The Eagles defeated Juneau-Douglas 2-1 on April 27.
"I think we match up pretty well," Lehnhart said. "We played them once during the season. It was a good game."
The Juneau Empire sports department can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.