The Juneau Jaguars U-13 soccer team finished its four-game warm-up to this week's 2002 Snickers U.S. Youth Soccer Far West Regional in Salt Lake City with a 2-2 record and a shot of confidence.
The Jaguars qualified for the tournament by winning a state title last August at the State Cup in Anchorage - the first Juneau boys team to accomplish that feat. They played the top four Utah teams in their age group last week, and beat the second- and third-ranked teams.
"We're competitive with these teams," Jaguars coach Mark Kelley said on Friday.
The Jaguars opened play on Tuesday with a 4-2 loss to the Utah Football Club, the state's fourth-ranked team in that age group. Cary Kelly and Carlo Ebron scored Juneau's goals.
Juneau goalkeeper Eric Choquette stopped a Utah penalty kick in the game.
"It was a beautiful save," Kelley said.
On Wednesday, the Jaguars defeated the third-ranked Utah Pride, 3-2, on two goals by Jamaal Bailey and a third score by Bryan Crowder.
Juneau trounced the second-ranked Utah team, the Advantage, by a score of 5-1 on Thursday evening. Bailey and Daryl Lew each had two goals for the Jaguars, and Andrew Flansaas had one.
"People couldn't believe we beat them 5-1," Kelley said.
Kelley said the Thursday game - which went late in to the evening - wore out the team prior to their final warm-up game early Friday morning against the top-ranked Utah Rangers. The Rangers won, 3-0.
"It was 1-0 to the very end," Kelley said. "It was a very close-played game."
Kelley said the team was enjoying the warm weather and their time at a Salt Lake City waterpark. They open tournament play on Monday with a game against a team from Hawaii.
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