Saturday night's soccer game between the Juneau-Douglas High School and Ketchikan boys was not a pivotal game. Juneau had already clinched a state berth the night before by drubbing Ketchikan 4-0 and beating them twice at home earlier in the season.
Still, there were two important milestones during the game, the most obvious being that it was the last home game for eleven JDHS seniors. The second was that Ketchikan managed to battle the Bears to a 2-2 tie, which was a first for their school's program. Ketchikan head coach Mike Medford was happy with the way his team performed.
"I believe we've never beaten Juneau at home and this is the only tie in Juneau," Medford said.
The player of the game on Senior Night wasn't from JDHS, but was instead Ketchikan junior goalkeeper Hans Hubbard, who made one save after another and denied Juneau a win for their last home game of the season.
"Our keeper had nine quality saves," Hubbard said. "I'm really happy for these guys. They've worked their tails off all year long. We always know Juneau's a quality (team). They are well coached, they have excellent players. We've been running 12-13 players against their 18-19 players."
When asked to comment on his goalie's performance, coach Medford added, "he's a quality kid and a quality keeper and it all came out today. Our objective is to be competitive with Juneau. If we can do that, we know we've accomplished something."
Ketchikan's season is over and they can make the trip home having earned some respect in Juneau. In contrast, the senior-laden Juneau team is headed to the state tournament, where they will need to play better if they hope to win.
Although Juneau dominated the first half of Saturday's game, they were out-played in the second half by Ketchikan and made several mistakes. Juneau had two goals that were called back for offsides penalties and could not convert on numerous scoring opportunities. JDHS seniors Aaron Badilla and Ky Clark had one goal apiece during the first half.
Ketchikan's striker Brian Moody had both goals for his team in the second half.
JDHS head coach Gary Lehnhart said he was a little disappointed in his team's performance, but gave praise to Ketchikan's goalie.
"Hans is a good player and he's difficult to score. He's played great all year against us," Lehnhart said.
JDHS is the defending state champion for boys soccer, and coach Lehnhart said JDHS is one of several teams that could win it all this year.
"I'm pleased with what the guys have done (this year). We beat the number one team in Anchorage; we beat the team that finished number one in Region III. There aren't one or two teams that have separated themselves. It is going to be wide open. I'm not sure the seeding matters this year."
Earlier this season, JDHS had victories over West Anchorage and Soldotna, two of the top teams in the state.
At this time least year, JDHS was undefeated and was the top seed in the state tournament. However, this year's team finished the regular season at 7-2-1.
"That's been the legacy of this team. We've been inconsistent," Lehnhart said. "Today was a good example. We played well in the first half, (but) came out in the second half and missed a bunch of opportunities and Ketchikan took it to us at the end."
Senior midfielder Joe Croteau was given the Lunch Box Award for being the hardest-working player of the game.
"We've got a lot of talent - it's nice to see it out here," Croteau said. "We've got a lot to learn before we go to state. It's nice to see everyone together out here."
Following the game on Saturday, the players and parents honored two seniors from the girls' team and eleven seniors from the boys' team. The following graduating seniors were honored: Wendy Calderwood, Elisha Thibodeau, Vincente Allison, Aaron Badilla, Ky Clark, Joe Croteau, Josh Odum, Samin Peirovi, Andrew Sigler, Joe Slagle, Nathan Teal, and Ben Weyhrauch.