The Crimson Bears girls' soccer team took one step closer to the state championship game Thursday afternoon after defeating Wasilla 3-0 at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park.
On one of the hottest days in Juneau this year, the temperature had an effect on both sides during opening-round action of the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska 2010 State Soccer Championships.
Both teams were substituting players in and out to keep fresh bodies on the field, and junior forward Sarah Tarver said it took the team a while to get accustomed to the heat.
She also said the Bears (15-4-1) were eventually able to gain momentum in the second half, and the team hopes that carries over into today's matchup with Dimond, a team the Bears slipped past 1-0 earlier this season.
"After we got to see how they play we got the feel, and we finally got used to the heat," said Tarver, who scored the Bears' third and final goal. "Dimond is going to be good competition, but I know we're ready."
Despite allowing two goals before halftime, Wasilla (12-5-1) was still putting pressure on Juneau-Douglas. But the Crimson Bears' talent and depth proved too much for the winded Warriors.
"They played really direct, so we knew we had to put pressure on them right away, and in the second half we picked it up," Tarver said. "We had some really good shots, which is great, but hopefully we play a little better tomorrow."
Junior forward Daffodil Alinson got the scoring started in the 4th minute. Alinson rebounded a missed shot in the box and put it past the keeper for the first goal.
That would be enough for the Bears as the Warriors were unable to capitalize on the few opportunities they had.
Just three minutes before the half, JDHS sophomore Solana Ashe booted a high, arching ball from 35 yards out that sailed over the keeper's head and just under the crossbar for the Bears' second goal.
Tarver ended the scoring in the 44th minute with a strike over the keeper's head from about 15 yards out.
Bears coach Matt Dusenberry said the team did not come out and play the way he was hoping, but it responded with a better second-half effort.
"I feel like there might have been some jitters on our part because we certainly didn't play the kind of game that we played even on Monday (in a scrimmage versus the JDHS boys)," he said. "Maybe the heat was a factor, but it was a factor for the opposition as well."
Dusenberry also commented on the temperature on the field. With a game against a tough Dimond team at 3 p.m. tomorrow, he said he hopes the girls take the time to rest.
"With this heat, I hope the kids get some sleep and eat the right things and give themselves a chance to recover for a quick turnaround (today)," he said.
The No. 6-seeded Lynx upset No. 3 Soldotna at Adair-Kennedy Field on Thursday to earn the rematch against the Crimson Bears.
All winner's bracket games on Friday and Saturday will be covered in Sunday's edition of the Juneau Empire.
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