The Juneau Jaguars couldn't quite hang on for the victory as they wilted under the 100-degree heat, but the Jaguars did hold on for a 1-1 tie with the Hawaii state champions in Monday's first round of the U.S. Youth Soccer Region IV Tournament at the West Jordan Soccer Complex in West Jordan, Utah.
"Hey, we got a point," Juneau coach Mark Kelley said. "That may not sound like much, but for Alaska that's pretty good. I think I was looking at last year's regionals and Alaska only won three out of 33 games. We've done better than most teams, and we've only played one game."
The Jaguars, who are the Alaska champions in the boys U-13 division, took a 1-0 lead about 10 minutes into the second (35-minute) half when Andrew Flansaas scored on an assist from Nils Domke.
Juneau held the lead until about three or four minutes left in the game, when Hawaii's HSC Bulls '89 Red team split the Jaguars' defense and scored.
"They had two guys who were running together and they got behind us," Kelley said. "I don't know if it was planned, but it looked like a nice play."
Kelley said the game started at 2 p.m. Utah time, when it was 100 degrees. He said the heat might have been a factor at the end of the game, since Hawaii didn't score until late. Kelley said his defensive quartet of Carlo Ebron, Owen Kelley, Alex Schirmer and Domke played well, and goalkeeper Eric Choquette made several big saves for Juneau.
"They had a few more chances than we did, but we were very evenly matched," Kelley said. "The other teams in our pool are better, they're bigger and faster. We're going to have to hang on to beat them, but I don't think we had our A game today. Colorado won the regionals last year, so we got a tough draw."
Juneau plays Colorado's Rush Nike at 2 p.m. today, Utah time. On Wednesday, when temperatures are expected to reach 107 degrees, Juneau plays California North's Marin United at 3:30 p.m. Utah time. In Monday's other Flight A game, Colorado beat California North 4-3.
The regional tournament features the top teams from Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Hawaii, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. There are 16 teams in the boys U-13 division, and teams are in four four-team pools for round-robin play. The region champions in each age group will advance to the national championships later this summer.