ANCHORAGE - After a heartbreaking 1-0 semifinal loss to the South Anchorage Wolverines at Anchorage Football Stadium on Friday, the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears boys soccer team defeated the Palmer Moose 3-0 on Saturday to secure third place in the Alaska School Activities Association State Soccer Championship.
It was the first time in six years JDHS failed to make the championship game.
On Friday, Juneau brought offensive pressure early in the game against the Wolverines but failed to crack South's defense.
After 38 scoreless minutes, referees awarded, then took away, a penalty kick for Juneau-Douglas.
Bears senior Ian Brinkman launched a pass to the front of the goal where players battled for possession until South's Dylan Ogle fell on the ball, resulting in a handball and a penalty kick for Juneau.
Officials conferred with each other and changed the call to a dangerous play violation, granting Juneau an indirect kick. Juneau played the free kick out of bounds.
South's Will Zeighan scored the game's lone goal two minutes into the second half after converting a pass from Trevor Hooe.
In the 49th minute, Juneau senior Ian Brinkman appeared to have scored the equalizer but the referee waved off the goal. The referee blew the whistle for a foul prior to the goal, disallowing the tally.
"That one hurt more," Juneau coach Gary Lehnhart said of the call which led to the disallowed goal.
The Bears did have a chance to score late in the game, though, after they were granted a penalty kick after a South foul in the penalty box. Senior Mark Rainery powered a shot high and wide of the net, however.
South's defense stood tall for the remainder of the game and held on for a 1-0 win.
Juneau outshot the Wolverines, 14-4.
Lehnhart refused to blame officials for the loss.
"This is a soccer game, and mistakes will be made," Lehnart said. "It's just tough when you're 18 and have spent this much time, only to have it end this way."
Following Friday's defeat, junior Dylan Ashe came out determined to earn third place.
"We looked at it kind of like our championship," Ashe said. "It wasn't for first or second, but it was our last game and we wanted to put our best effort our there."
Ashe scored in the first half to give the Bears a 1-0 lead. Rainery converted a penalty kick and junior Eric Gullufsen scored in the second half to seal the win and a third-place finish.
"This was still a great season," Lehnhart added. "We are going to lose some great players, but we have a lot of good players waiting in the wings. The future is very bright."
JDHS senior Nick Ellenbecker said he was sad to see the season end.
"I'm pretty sad that it's our last game," Ellenbecker said. "For years a lot of us seniors have played together, since we were eight years old. We have had the best season you could ever ask for, just because of the camaraderie our team had throughout the years. It's really special."