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Two Juneau Soccer Club teams tied for third place in their respective divisions at the Zane Cup Soccer Tournament in Anchorage this past weekend.
The tournament, which took place Friday through Sunday at the South Anchorage Sports Complex, featured 35 teams from around the state competing in the U11 and U12 age groups. The Zane Cup serves as the state championship for the younger age divisions, while the older youth age groups open play in the Alaska State Youth Soccer Association's State Cup tournament Wednesday in Palmer.
The JSC Thunderstrikers lost 4-1 in their semifinal Sunday against the eventual U12 boys division champion Goldstrikers '92 of Anchorage. The JSC Capitol Cleats fell 1-0 to the eventual U12 girls division runner-up Soldotna River Hawks in another Sunday semifinal.
The Thunderstrikers appeared to jump out to a 1-0 lead early in their game when Cody Grusendorf connected on a direct free kick, but coach Tom Rutecki said the linesman waved off the goal because one of Juneau's players was offsides on the play.
"It was a bad call and the momentum shifted," Rutecki said.
After the call, Juneau had a flat five minutes that allowed the Goldstrikers to score three goals. The Thunderstrikers finally got on the scoreboard in the second half when Aaron Cohen scored on a run through the middle. Defender Nick Rutecki passed the ball up to center midfielder Victor Wilson, who sent it to Cohen at center forward for the only Juneau goal of the game.
"They did beat us and they went on to win the tournament," Rutecki said.
The JSC Capitol Cleats posted a 2-2 record in its part of the tournament, rebounding from an opening-day loss to win two games before Sunday's semifinal loss. The River Hawks scored their semifinal goal off a corner kick, coach Noel Shima said.
Mahlet Tingley scored five goals to lead the Capitol Cleats in scoring, while Alix Gingras had two goals. Shima said he used two goalkeepers - Shawnee Good and Kristen Dierick - and they were assisted on defense by four fullbacks - Emily Johnson, Emily Waste, Karen Hinckle and Annika Ord.
"They had the jitters the first game, but after that they played awfully well," Shima said.
While the Capitol Cleats didn't win the tournament title, they did come home with some trophy hardware. The Capitol Cleats won the Pele Award, an award given to one team from each division for sportsmanship.
"One of the things about the Zane Cup, since it's for U11 and U12 players, is sportsmanship," Shima said. "Sportsmanship is a very big part of this tournament. As the games are going on, there were people watching the players, coaches and fans for each team and they gave out one award for each division."
The Zane Cup began in 1999 and is the named after former Northern Light Soccer Club Dynamo '88 player Zane Stephl, who was diagnosed with leukemia at age 11. The tournament raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and last year it raised more than $5,000. The first year of the tournament there were nine teams and it raised just $150.
In the U12 boys championship game Sunday, the Goldstrikers edged the Kenai Spitfire 6-5. Northern Lights Celtic knocked off the River Hawks 3-1 in the U12 girls title game.
Northern Lights Full Force blanked the Cook Inlet Timberwolves 2-0 to claim the U11 boys championship, while the Cook Inlet Comets edged the Anchorage Youth Soccer Club Arsenal 2-1 in the U11 girls championship game.