The Juneau Xtratuffs U-13 girls soccer team accomplished more than any previous Juneau team at the Far West Regional Championships, but they were unable to advance to the next round at this week's tourney in Hawaii.
After beating a Washington team on Tuesday - the first time a Juneau squad has won at the tournament - the Xtratuffs fell to the Mustang Fury of Northern California 5-0 on Wednesday and were eliminated from tournament play.
"We came out a little flat (and) they were just good," Xtratuffs coach Tom Rutecki said. "When they put subs in they didn't have a drop" in quality of play.
In other games in Honolulu on Wednesday, the Juneau Riptide U-13 boys team got on the board, but were doubled up in a 4-2 loss to Nevada's Neusport 90. The Juneau Jaguars U-14 boys squad was shut out 5-0 by RHFC Real Copa 89 of Hawaii.
Only one of the 13 Alaska squads at the tournament advanced to the single-elimination quarterfinal round of the tournament. The Alaska Goldstrikers 89 U-14 girls team from Anchorage will play the Mustang Blast of Northern California at 3 p.m. ADT today.
Rutecki said that despite Wednesday's loss, the Xtratuffs were feeling good about their tourney experience. A tournament official spoke with Rutecki towards the end of the game and commended the team for its positive attitude.
"The kids are pretty upbeat," Rutecki said. "They are happy and want to do it again."
And there still may be excitement in store for the Xtratuffs. A local television station is tentatively planning to film the girls scrimmaging a Hawaii team - a 49th vs. 50th state match-up - on Friday at a 5,000-seat soccer stadium in Honolulu. The footage would be used on a local newscast.
The Jaguars found themselves down 4-0 at halftime to the Hawaii team, but stayed focused and held the Real Copa squad to a single goal - on a penalty shot - in the second half.
Coach Mark Kelley said the tournament was a tough won for the Jaguars, who were shut out in all three games, but the team never got down.
"It's pretty hard to play under those scores, but the kids put in a strong effort," he said. "They never gave up. They followed all the way through (and) played as strong as they could."
No further details were available on the Juneau Riptide game.