The Crimson Bears girls' soccer team faced a halftime deficit in Saturday's third-place game of the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska 2010 State Soccer Championships, but Juneau-Douglas refused to end the season with a loss.
Following a heart-breaking 1-0 defeat Friday afternoon to the Dimond Lynx, the second-seeded Bears fought the No. 4 West Valley Wolfpack to a 2-2 tie for third place in a contest that was physical from start to finish.
Senior midfielder Annika Ord said the team started the tournament slow, but overall she was pleased with the effort in grinding out a third-place finish.
"We're really happy with our play, and we all gave it our all today. We're happy with the results because we did our best in each game," she said. "We can't do anything about it now.
"I think we came out at the beginning of the tournament a little slow, but we definitely built up to how we can play."
Juneau-Douglas split a two-game series with West Valley earlier this season when the Wolfpack visited Juneau, and, again, nothing was decided.
Down 2-1 at the half, junior forward Melissa Skan played a ball down the left side of the box and chipped it over the keeper's head into the right corner to tie the game early in the second half.
The rest of the match was a stalemate as neither defense would give way, and each keeper denied any opportunities taken by the other side.
After falling behind 1-0 early in the game, Juneau-Douglas moved junior forward Sarah Tarver to the top of the formation to kick start a stagnant offense, and the move immediately paid dividends as Tarver beat the keeper and another defender with a header into the net to tie the score.
The size of West Valley was a factor all afternoon, especially on a cross late in the first half that resulted in a goal off the head of a West Valley attacker that slipped by Bears senior keeper Kristen Dierick to send the Wolfpack into the half up 2-1.
For the senior Bears, the end of the season was bittersweet. While it was nice being at home, the ultimate goal was to win the title. But Ord said the girls are happy and she will remember her senior season as a success.
"It was great. The team is wonderful and although we could have done better, we did the best we could," she said. "I'm happy with the results."
Bears coach Matt Dusenberry, who was doused by a water cooler after unsuccessful attempts to avert the icy celebration, said despite the difficult loss in the semifinals, he felt the girls would get back up for the next game as they did not want to go out with a loss.
"There were a lot of seniors that were trying to go out with a win, and I think the other girls wanted to make it happen for them and each other," he said. "We only lost three times this year in the state of Alaska, so we had a good season, and (West Valley) was a tough team to play."
Dusenberry said the future looks good, despite losing several key seniors.
"We are going to be solid next year. Although we're losing some seniors, we've got some kids that have been starting since they were freshmen here," he said. "We've got some kids on the JV squad that can step in, and, hopefully, we'll be sitting here in the same position (to win state) next year."
Lynx blank Bears 1-0 in semis
Just one win away from advancing to the state title game Saturday afternoon, the No. 2-seeded Juneau-Douglas girls' soccer team came up short in a 1-0 loss to the No. 6 Dimond Lynx on Friday at Adair-Kennedy Field.
Down 1-0 in the final 10 minutes, junior forward Sarah Tarver found herself with an opportunity in the open field, but with a Lynx defender chasing from behind, Tarver's shot glanced off the fingertips of the charging keeper and trickled just wide of the left post.
The Bears missed an opportunity to tie the game by only a couple of feet.
Senior keeper Kristen Dierick earned Player of the Game honors for her effort in goal. Unfortunately, one Juneau-Douglas defensive breakdown gave Dimond a one-on-one opportunity, of which they took advantage.
Dierick made several diving saves to keep her team in the game, but she expressed her team's disappointment afterward.
"I think we played hard," she said, "and I think we should have controlled the ball more."
With the loss, the Bears will play for third place against a West Valley team that split a two-game series against JDHS in Juneau earlier this season.
"We definitely want to finish on a good note," Dierick said. "For the seniors, we don't want to finish with a loss, and it's not going to be as hot early in the day."
Bears' coach Matt Dusenberry said the game could have gone either way but in the end, the Lynx capitalized on their best opportunity.
"It was a physical game for sure," Dusenberry said. "Certainly, we hoped to be in the final. But it was a heck of a game. We had some chances there that, unfortunately, we didn't put in, and they got in on that one and put it in."