One night after a 3-0 victory and a guaranteed spot in the state tournament, the Crimson Bears boys' soccer team battled Ketchikan to a 1-0 win Friday night on Adair-Kennedy Field.
After a scoreless first half, senior forward Victor Wilson punched one into the back of the net just minutes into the second after rebounding a Nathan Fosket miss that glanced off the goalkeeper's gloves and bounced off the crossbar and in.
The win came on senior night, where seven of the eight Juneau-Douglas seniors were honored for their careers as Crimson Bears. Senior Nick Rutecki was not at the game due to him competing at the state track meet at Lathrop High School on Friday and Saturday.
"Every year is different, and it's kind of fun to have been doing this for as long as I have and to have seen so many good kids come through. This group is as unique as any group we've had," said JDHS coach Gary Lehnhart. "It's been a fun group to coach, and for their sakes, I hope they do well (at state). Memories are always a little stronger when you win."
Looking back, Lehnhart said he is pleased with the way his team has played over the last couple of months, especially considering the injury woes the Bears have suffered through all season.
"That was our 19th win, which I think is a program record," he said. "It was perfect from our standpoint. We wanted to keep the score at zero, we rotated people through to get everyone playing time, and the guys that are hurt we were able to keep out."
Juneau-Douglas was able to put constant pressure on the Kings' defense all game, but Ketchikan keeper Hans Hubbard was once again spectacular in goal and managed to keep the score close.
But the Bears were able to withstand a final surge from Ketchikan to hang on for the win.
Fosket, a junior, played in his second game back from a concussion that caused him to misssignificant time, and Lehnhart stressed the importance of his return to action.
"We missed him. He's just a steady, central presence, and he looks good," he said. "He did a good job while he was out keeping his fitness up, and he's playing well. We're definitely going to need a good effort from him."
If there were any effects from the concussion, they were not noticeable as Fosket was aggressive up top for Juneau-Douglas. His assertive play made it possible for Wilson to score the deciding goal.
"Ketchikan is really good this year, and getting that goal felt really good, especially on senior night," said Wilson. "The team's energy felt really good after that."
As one of the seniors on the team, Wilson also said it's nice to know they'll be playing at home again come Thursday at the state tournament.
"Senior night is usually our last game here, but since we do have state, it's not as emotional," he said. "There definitely would be tears if it was our last game."
Even with the injury bug biting the Bears this season, Wilson thinks the team is ready for state, both physically and mentally.
"We should be good to go, and we've definitely been improving," he said. "We're going to go hard at practice this week to make sure we're ready."
The Crimson Bears' quest to win another state title in boys soccer begins Thursday in Juneau at Adair-Kennedy Field.
Juneau Empire ©2015. All Rights Reserved.