The Juneau Soccer Club Xtratuffs U13 girls, Riptide U13 boys and Jaguars U14 boys teams won their semifinal games Saturday and advanced to today's championship games in the Alaska State Youth Soccer Association's State Cup tournament in Fairbanks.
The Xtratuffs needed double-overtime to claim a 2-1 victory over the Chugiak Storm, while the defending state champion Jaguars beat the Flaming Lizards of Fairbanks 3-2 in their semifinal. The Riptide dominated the Alaska Goldstrikers '90 on their way to a 3-0 win and a perfect 5-0 tourney record.
In other semifinal action involving Juneau teams Saturday, the Juneau Quicksilver U16 girls team dropped a 1-0 decision to the Renegades of Fairbanks.
In non-playoff action Saturday, the Juneau Orcas U15 boys team dropped a 2-0 decision to the North Pole Cyclones in a consolation game while the Juneau Titans U14 girls fell 3-0 to the Alaska Goldstrikers '89 of Anchorage in a late round-robin game. Neither the Orcas nor the Titans advanced to Saturday's semifinals.
In late round-robin games from Friday, the Xtratuffs dropped a 2-0 decision to the Alaska Goldstrikers '90 and the Quicksilver beat the Northern Lights Storm 4-1.
In Saturday's semifinal victory over the Chugiak Storm, the Xtratuffs fell behind 1-0 in the first half and had to rally to tie the game late in regulation as Kirsten Jorgensen - who moved up from sweeper on defense to outside wing - scored on an assist from Margaret Sekona. The Xtratuffs had two apparent goals called back in the first overtime, Xtratuffs coach Tom Rutecki said. Sekona scored the game-winner in the second overtime with assists from Amanda Soto and Isabel Waldman.
"We basically had the team on its heels for the last 55 minutes," Rutecki said. "We had two goals called back in the first overtime, both on questionable calls. The first one was on an offsides call, and the other came when the referee gave us an indirect free kick on a handball in the box (instead of a penalty kick). The ball looked like it went in off the goalie. We had to score three goals in overtime to get one to count."
Rutecki said goalkeeper Nellie Metcalf "was unbelievable, she was fabulous in goal." He also said central defender Allison Bremner stepped into a new position and helped keep the Storm from attacking, and received help on defense from Clarissa Suson, Jenna Rutecki, Elizabeth Talmadge and Jorgensen.
"Kayla Walton demonstrated her versatility on both offense and defense by consistently shutting down the other team's attack on defense and getting our attack started by feeding the ball to midfielders Mikaela Goade and Carly Lehnhart," Rutecki said.
The Xtratuffs will play in today's 10 a.m. championship game against the winner of Saturday's semifinal between the Alaska Goldstrikers '90 and the Northern Lights Dynamite.
The Jaguars stayed alive in their bid for a second straight state championship by rallying for a victory over the Flaming Lizards.
Jaguars coach Mark Kelley said the loss was just the second of the year for the Flaming Lizards, who dominated the last three non-State Cup tournaments - the Ina Kristiansen Memorial in Anchorage, the Midnight Sun in Anchorage and the Far North in Fairbanks.
"It was a hard-fought game," Kelley said.
Jamaal Bailey scored two goals and Eli Bruce scored the other to lead the Jaguars, who were the only Juneau team to win a state title last year and just the second-ever state champions from Juneau.
The Flaming Lizards opened the scoring, but Bailey tied the score on a penalty kick after he was taken down in the goal box. Bruce scored late in the first half to give Juneau a 2-1 halftime lead.
The Flaming Lizards tied the score early in the second half, but Bailey scored the game-winner off a rebound with about 20 minutes left in the game. Kelley said his team kept attacking until he dropped a midfielder back on defense with about five minutes to play.
"Jamaal was the star of the game for us," Kelley said. "He was double-teamed all game by their two fastest players and he had one of his best games. Nils Domke was solid on defense and Andrew Flansaas was strong at center mid (midfielder)."
The Jaguars will try to win their second state title today when they play the Cook Inlet Samurai, who beat Mat-Valley 1-0 in Saturday's other semifinal. In round-robin action, the Jaguars beat the Samurai 3-0.
The Riptide defense only allowed the Goldstrikers to make two shots on goal in their semifinal game, and earned a trip to the finals on two goals and an assist by Colin Flynn and a third goal by Sam Greely.
"We pretty much dominated play," Riptide coach Rod Flynn said. "A large portion of the play was on the opponent's end of the field."
Colin Flynn opened the scoring with an unassisted breakaway goal in the 20th minute of the first half, then added another eight minutes into the second half on a shot from about 20 yards out. Greely's goal came 32 minutes into the second half on an assist by Colin Flynn.
Rod Flynn said Greely and Elliot Ford played excellent games at midfield.
The Riptide lost in the State Cup semifinals last year, and Rod Flynn said the team was excited to move on to the next level.
"We've built on last year," he said.
The undefeated Riptide will face the Chugiak Soccer Club Cosmos in the championship game. They beat the Cosmos, 3-1, in round robin play on Thursday.
The Quicksilver fell just short in their bid to reach the finals, losing in a defensive struggle with the Renegades.
"It was just one of those games," Quicksilver team manager Leslie Houston said. "It was a hard-played, physical, defensive game. They had seven shots and we had five. It was a very defensive game."
Houston said the Renegades scored in the 29th minute of the first half on a "beautiful high lob shot from about 24 yards out that went high into the net." She said she didn't know who scored the goal for Fairbanks.
"We dominated the last 20 minutes of the game and that's when most of our shots came," Houston said. "Everybody held their own."
No details were available about the Orcas' and the Titans' losses on Saturday.
On Friday, the Xtratuffs had several key starters missing to injury and illness in their loss to the Goldstrikers, but the Xtratuffs had already earned a spot in the semifinals before the game. No scoring details were available, but the Goldstrikers scored one goal in each half.
The Quicksilver beat the Northern Lights Storm as four different players scored goals. Kokii Stekoll, Jordon Cottingham, Rochele Rodman and Theresa Badilla scored goals, with Gretchen Dierking adding an assist. Juneau outshot the Storm 31-6, and Jessy Post dominated at center midfield and Monica Daugherty was strong at defensive sweeper for Juneau.
The Quicksilver and the Goldstrikers '87 tied for the top seed in their pool and tied in their round-robin game, but the Quicksilver got the second seed when it lost a coin flip.