The Juneau-Douglas High School boys soccer team advanced in the Alaska School Activities Association State Soccer Championships on Thursday after slipping past Colony 3-1 at Anchorage Football Stadium.
With the score tied 1-1, JDHS scored twice in the final 20 minutes to vanquish the pesky Knights.
"It kind of felt like going to the dentist," JDHS coach Gary Lehnhart said. "I felt like it was never going to end. I'm glad to have that done."
Seeded second and undefeated heading into Thursday's game, the Crimson Bears ran into a hot goalkeeper and needed to convert two penalty kicks to win the game.
JDHS went up 1-0 in the 27th minute after senior Colin Flynn was taken down in the penalty area. Flynn converted the penalty to put his side up 1-0.
Colony responded just three minutes later to tie the score. It was the Knights' only shot on goal in the first half.
"They seemed a little stunned at the half," Lehnhart said of his team. "I could sense at halftime with the kids there was an awareness of, 'Uh-oh, this is not going as we want it to go.'"
The struggles continued after halftime.
"We tightened a bit and we came out pretty flat," Lehnhart said. "If anything, we probably played the worst the entire day in the first 10 minutes of the second half. We were really struggling."
A substitute, however, energized JDHS.
Outside midfielder Aaron Badilla entered the game midway through the second half and provided the go-ahead goal.
He took a pass from striker Dominic Smith and beat goalkeeper Elliott Gilbert for a goal in the 60th minute.
"I subbed in Aaron Badilla and we just seemed to gain some energy," Lehnhart said. "He came in and we started keeping the ball in their end and generated some offense."
In about the 70th minute, Lehnhart said Flynn made a key defensive play to preserve the lead. After a long throw-in, Flynn cleared a dangerous ball from the line.
Four minutes later, Joe Crouteau got into the box and drew a penalty.
This time, Tuavao Maake did the honors and gave JDHS a key insurance goal.
"I was proud of our guys," Lehnhart said. "It was a trap game, a game where they could've thrown it away and said, 'It's not going our way.'"
Center fullback Zach Farrington won the player of the game award while Lehnhart singled out a number of players for their effort, including Elliott Ford, Smith, Badilla and Nathan Ord.
Ord played both the flank and outside fullback positions Thursday, two of the most physically demanding spots in Lehnhart's system.
"I thought that the one guy who probably gave us the hardest 80 minutes was Nathan Ord," Lehnhart said. "He didn't come out."
Sam Post made one save in the win for JDHS (13-0-2).
The Crimson Bears will take on Dimond at 4 p.m. today in the semifinal round. The Lynx nipped Soldotna 1-0 on Wednesday.
Contact sports editor Tim Nichols at 523-2228 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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