Colin Flynn scored twice as the Juneau-Douglas High School boys soccer team successfully opened tournament play Thursday in Anchorage.
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The third-seeded Crimson Bears defeated sixth-seeded East Anchorage 3-0 in the Alaska School Activities Association State Soccer Championships quarterfinal round.
Flynn scored twice in the game's first 19 minutes to give JDHS early momentum.
JDHS boys soccer
State tournament semifinals
Who: No. 3 Juneau-Douglas vs. No. 2 West Anchorage.
Where: Anchorage Football Stadium.
When: 6 p.m. today.
What's at stake: In a rematch of last year's state semifinal game, the winner will play for the state title at 7 p.m. Saturday.
"Despite the fact we were seeded higher, we knew they had some dangerous players," JDHS coach Gary Lehnhart said. "To get up early was a big deal."
Juneau-Douglas struck first, 11 minutes into the game off a throw in from Zach Farrington.
The junior fullback, who has arguably the longest throw-ins on the team, threw the ball into play. Lehnhart said the ball flew over the head of striker Dominic Smith. Flynn got the ball on the backside and scored.
"We spent a lot of time working on that," Lehnhart said. "It's such a weapon. It was perfectly executed."
Lehnhart called Farrington the player of the game and awarded him the lunch box afterwards, given to the player who makes all the little plays. Farrington helped lead a defensive effort that recorded its eighth shutout of the year.
"Early in the game (East) put their scorer on his side of the field and tried to play to him the whole time and Zach shut him down," Lehnhart said. "Zach Farrington was the player of the game."
Flynn scored his second goal in the 19th minute off an assist from Smith.
Lehnhart said Smith drew a defender towards him, then played it off for Flynn for the goal.
"Dom had a really good game," Lehnhart said. "He could've shot it but he drew the defender and laid it out to Colin who buried it. That was one of our keys. The number one key was to play unselfishly and we played unselfishly."
Up 2-0 at halftime, JDHS put the game away with a key defensive play that translated into an insurance goal.
About five minutes into the second half, Lehnhart said East had a breakaway but goaltender Sam Post came out of his net and forced the Thunderbirds player to shoot wide.
Three minutes later, Andrew Flansaas scored off Smith's assist to put the Bears ahead 3-0.
"That's what I told him (Post), 'We needed you one time in that game and you came through,'" Lehnhart said. "And then to bury that shot, for all intents and purposes ended that game."
JDHS limited East Anchorage to two shots on goal in the game.
The Crimson Bears also used their deep bench in the win.
Lehnhart substituted five players 10 minutes into the game and used a variety of players in the win.
"The next 10 minutes was the best we played with the guys," Lehnhart said. "Aaron Badilla, who has been getting better and better as the season went on, came in and was very dangerous. ... Joe Slagle gave us good minutes."
Lehnhart also said flank player Nils Domke provided quality minutes for JDHS.
"He played a really good game and played strong," Lehnhart said.
Up next for JDHS will be a rematch of last year's state semifinal game against second-seeded West Anchorage High School at 6 p.m. today. The Eagles defeated Kenai Central 1-0 in overtime Wednesday.
Last year, JDHS nipped West Anchorage 1-0 in double overtime last year.
On May 10, the Eagles beat the Crimson Bears 2-1 to hand JDHS its only in-state defeat this season.
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at email@example.com.
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