WASILLA - Juneau-Douglas High School senior Greta Thibodeau was behind the bleachers, leaving her lunch behind. Freshman Sarah Christianson was digging through an assortment of four asthma inhalers, looking for the one she needed. And senior Crystal Barr was still a little groggy as she sat on the bench with an ice pack pressed to her neck.
That was the scene after the Crimson Bears girls soccer team passed its first major test of the season, beating the Dimond Lynx 5-3 in overtime Thursday night to open the state soccer tournament at Wasilla High School. Juneau will face Colony in a semifinal game today.
"I threw up and I still don't feel that good," said Thibodeau, who scored an overtime goal and had two assists in regulation for the Crimson Bears. "It was the first big test for us, and it showed we can come back. I'm in awe of the way everyone played."
"It's the first time we've been scored on (other than a penalty kick)," said Christianson, who called herself "the queen of asthma attacks" after she added a breakaway insurance goal in the second 10-minute overtime period, then promptly had an attack. "It's nice to see we can get back in it."
The Crimson Bears (14-0-0 overall) hadn't really been tested during the regular season, with only one of their victories coming by less than three goals. They had outscored their opponents 80-3, with all three goals allowed coming on penalty kicks.
Dimond ended the non-PK shutout streak in the game's third minute when freshman Carolyn Savage, the top scorer in Region IV, scored on an assist from Lydia Cotton to give the Lynx (5-6-1) a 1-0 lead. It was the first time Juneau's trailed all season.
The Crimson Bears didn't let that lead last long, as junior Theresa Badilla scored on an assist from Thibodeau less than a minute later to tie the score at 1-1.
"I wasn't sure how good we'd do," Badilla said. "I was glad to see we got back. We kind of got our spirit down, especially being down a goal. They were a tough team."
Juneau took a 2-1 lead five minutes later, when sophomore Jessy Post scored on an assist from Thibodeau. But Dimond countered in the game's 33rd minute when Savage scored her second goal, this time on an assist from Jessica Johnson. The game would stay tied at 2-2 through the rest of regulation.
"That was the first time we'd been down in the beginning of a game," Post said. "It was a good test for our defense, and for our whole team."
After two 40-minute halves, in high school soccer the overtime setup involves two 10-minute periods that are played to their conclusion regardless of score. If the game is still tied, then there are two 5-minute periods of sudden-death overtime before the game goes into a penalty-kick shootout with each team sending up five players to alternate taking shots.
The game, which had seen one yellow card (warning) on Johnson in the second half, got very physical in the overtimes. Badilla picked up a yellow card for running into goalkeeper Ashley Ohlson in third minute of the first overtime.
Juneau took a 3-2 lead in the sixth minute of the first overtime when Thibodeau scored on an assist from senior Alida Bus. In the last minute of the first overtime, Dimond's Halley Sullivan picked up a yellow card.
Juneau led 3-2 entering the second overtime, but Sullivan sank a penalty kick in the third minute to tie the score at 3-3.
In the fifth minute of the second overtime, Juneau took a 4-3 lead when Post scored her second goal of the game on a direct free kick, hitting the far left corner on a shot from the right side.
"I was very surprised," Post said of her overtime goal. "That was the happiest moment of the game for me."
Juneau didn't get to celebrate too long, as Barr went down in a heap after colliding with Dimond's Megan Friess, who earned a yellow card on the play. Barr was down on the ground for several minutes before she was finally helped off the field.
"I'm OK," Barr said after the game ended.
Once play resumed, Christianson added an insurance goal as she tracked down a loose ball, then beat Ohlson twice before putting the ball in the net in the game's 100th minute. About 45 seconds later, the game ended and Juneau advanced to the semifinals.
"I just really wanted to score," Christianson said.
After the game, the Crimson Bears were a bit beaten up. But they also were happy for the win, even though they thought they could have played better.
Senior defender Tasha McKoy won Juneau's hard hat award for coming to work. Christianson won Juneau's sombrero award for prettiest goal. Thibodeau won Juneau's player of the game award from tournament officials, with Savage winning the player of the game award for Dimond.
"It was an equal game, a good game," Dimond coach Joe Danicic said. "It was one of those up and down games. (Juneau's) girls played good, and so did ours. Someone had to lose, and I guess it was our turn."
The Crimson Bears will play Colony (6-2-1) at 6 p.m. today at Colony High School in the semifinals. The Knights beat Homer 2-1 in another opening-round game Thursday afternoon. The winner of today's Juneau-Colony game will advance to Saturday's 4:30 p.m. championship game at Wasilla High School.
In Thursday's other opening-round games, two-time defending state champion Service beat Chugiak 4-1 and East Anchorage rebounded from a one-goal deficit to edge Grace Christian School 2-1. Service and East will play in today's 4 p.m. semifinal.
Charles Bingham can be reached at email@example.com.
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