Another game, another shutout for the Juneau-Douglas High School girls soccer team.
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The Crimson Bears triumphantly opened play in the Alaska School Activities Association State Soccer Championships with a 4-0 win over Homer on Thursday in Anchorage.
"Everybody was confident," JDHS forward Margaret Sekona said. "Especially (Wednesday) we helped each other prepare for today. Everyone felt more confidence than we usually do."
JDHS translated that confidence into a quick 3-0 first-half lead.
Just four minutes into the game, Carly Lehnhart scored off Sekona's assist.
In the 19th minute, Sekona tallied an unassisted goal. Nine minutes later, Rachel Tarver put JDHS ahead 3-0 with a goal.
Tarver, a forward, scored her second goal of the game five minutes into the second half.
"She played really well and got player of the game," JDHS co-coach Sandi Wagner said. "She had a good game. They all had a good game. I'm pleased with how hard we worked right from the gun. A weakness of ours was we don't start well."
JDHS girls soccer
State tournament semifinals
Who: No. 4 Juneau-Douglas vs. No. 1 South Anchorage.
Where: Anchorage Football Stadium.
When: noon today.
What's at stake: Winner of today's game will play for the state title at 5 p.m. Saturday. The loser will play for third place at noon Saturday.
Wagner described Tarver's goals as results of hard work and beating the defense.
Tarver moved up to the forward position after filling in for the injured Sarah Christianson. Sekona and Christianson have played together in the two striker positions for nearly three years.
Having Sekona and Tarver score three of the team's four goals speaks well to their developing chemistry on the pitch.
"We had to actually get used to each other," Sekona said of playing with Tarver. "We talked more on and off the field and help each other out. Our relationship is really important because in the game we wouldn't have trust or confidence with each other (without the relationship)."
In the game, Juneau-Douglas outshot the Northern Lights Conference champions 18-2. Kayla Walton made both saves in the win.
"We didn't let them penetrate much," Wagner said of how her defense played. "There was one (shot) Kayla got a good hand on. It was high and over her head but she knocked it down and played a good game."
It was the Crimson Bears' fourth-straight shutout and the 10th of the year.
"Our defense is always solid," Sekona said. "We have a very solid defense. They control it really well. They use the keeper. They play really smart. They rarely make mistakes."
Fourth-seeded JDHS will take on top-seeded South Anchorage High School at noon today in the semifinal round.
The Wolverines routed Wasilla 9-0 on Wednesday in their quarterfinal game.
JDHS fell to South Anchorage 1-0 on May 10 at Anchorage Football Stadium.
"They use their strong players a lot," Sekona said of the Wolverines. "They're really aggressive and fast. Their speed of game is faster than the other teams. We've played them once and we know we're capable of playing at their level."
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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