JDHS seniors Sierra Kanouse (9), Ella Goldstein (4) and Clara Don (8) in Friday’s State Tournament semifinal against the North Pole. (Klas Stolpe/KINY)
Anchorage, Alaska (KINY) — The three capital soccer teams competing in the ASAA State Tournament in Anchorage all won their semifinals on Friday with clean sheets and will play for the state championships on Saturday.
Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé girls beat North Pole 8-0, JDHS boys beat Kenai 4-0 and Thunder Mountain boys beat Grace Christian 3-0.
– CRIMSON BEAR GIRLS –
Like an arcade game, the JDHS girls send the ball up the field and into the net at an alarming rate – alarming, that is, if you’re the opponent.
On Friday, Crimson Bears senior Kyla Bentz had five goals, schoolmate Blake Plummer had five assists, schoolmate Ella Goldstein had two goals and an assist, schoolmate Maile Quigley scored , classmate Brooke Sanford assisted, a series of subs contributed and senior Zuri DeJean kept the goaltender’s yellow fence clean. Bentz received the Hard Hat award from the Crimson Bears. Her five scores put her in second place in the Crimson Bears record books with 32 goals in a season (Malia Miller had 43 in a season).
“I think I had really good energy today,” Bentz said. “I always try to do my best. Today I think I really brought it in and it worked for the team. I also had a really good ball played to me. Shout out to Ella (Goldstein) and Blake (Plummer) for that and a few other players who hit really good long balls that I might come across and it usually goes on the good side I’m really excited about this game knowing that it’s my last season, I’m happy to have had two out of three very good games to end my season, same with my team… a lot of girls who don’t have a lot of playing time, have had very good games and it’s nice to see.
Quigley scored the Crimson Bears’ first goal from a Sanford corner 10 minutes into action.
Bentz ran on a through ball from Plummer six minutes later for 2-0.
Goldstein scored three minutes later, assisted by Plummer, and waited another 10 minutes before scoring with an assist from Bentz for the 4-0. The two roles swapped and Bentz scored from Goldstein for 5-0 just minutes into the second half.
Two minutes later, Plummer made a pass to Bentz who took the 6-0 lead. Another two minutes saw Bentz run on a through ball from Plummer and turn the scoreboard 7-0. Bentz added a final rebound score on a Plummer shot for 8-0.
“It’s nice to play your best football at the end of the tournament,” JDHS coach Matt Dusenberry said. “They are focused. They just want to give themselves a chance. We don’t talk a lot about repeats or back-to-back streaks and all that, but they talked about giving themselves an opportunity. And they’re in the league, so they’ve given themselves the opportunity tomorrow to play for that, so it’ll be fun to watch.
Goldstein received the ASAA Player of the Game honor.
The JDHS girls will face Grace Christian for the state championship at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Service High School. Grace beat Homer 1-0 in the semifinals.
– BOYS CRIMSON BEAR –
The JDHS boys were chasing Kenai in the opening minutes of their semi-final until Crimson Bears rookie Kai Ciambor, looking rested after not playing in the opener, scored the opening goal with a assist from senior Andre Peirovi.
“I didn’t think we played particularly well early on,” JDHS coach Gary Lehnhart said. “I think that first goal really changed the game. So when Kai hit it, it really allowed us to relax a bit and play a bit better.
Ciambor had a spinning move that got the crowd excited and senior Tias Carney put his spin on it and the Crimson Bears started to look more relaxed.
With 6:20 remaining in the first half, Ciambor received a through ball from Carney and put a hard kick past a defender and goalkeeper for 2-0.
Carney mixed it all up in the box about a minute later and the Crimson Bears took advantage for a 3-0 advantage.
“I think where the game really changed was when Tias kind of single-handedly turned an innocuous situation in the box into a goal just before half-time,” Lehnhart said. “That’s typical of him. He’s just relentless. He finds a way. He’s long and lanky, he finds a way to get his foot on the ball and keep it alive and the next thing you know, it’s it’s in the net and it’s 3-0. 3-0 at halftime is a totally different situation than 2-0. With 2-0, one goal and you feel you have a chance. Down 3- 0, you have to do it twice.
Kenai had caused JDHS problems on the wing, but an adjustment put Crimson Bears senior Owen Costello on top of Kardinals junior Wade James and, along with JDHS junior Will Robinson, they stopped him.
“We made a tactical move there, moving Owen, and after that he and Will really made that offense less effective,” Lehnhart said. “We left that the rest of the game and those two did a good job. Owen had a great game.
Costello’s work was one of his best defensive games of a career and he was honored with the Crimson Bears Lunch Pail honor as player of the game.
“Ironically, in the second half we kind of took the air out of the game,” Lehnhart said. “We did a good job of owning it. We didn’t really have any great chances. We were running out of chances to put the game away and then Owen got the end of the game.
Costello struck with about 10 minutes left in the game with an assist from junior Gabe Cheng for the 4-0 score. Ciambor received the ASAA Player of the Game honor.
– FALCON BOYS –
Thunder Mountain were met with a game from the Grace Christian Grizzlies team that matched their physicality and both clubs were scoreless in the first half.
“Our defense really stepped up this game and they really needed it,” said senior goaltender Miles Peterson. “Grace is a tough team. They played very well, it was a hard-fought match. They really tested me many times and I just had to play well.
The Falcons broke the ice with 25 minutes left in the second half.
Junior Preston Lam kicked a corner into the box and senior John Magalhaes headed it down and past Grace keeper for a 1-0 lead.
“We stuck to it and played as a team,” Wallace Adams said. “I think it’s one of our best games so far this year where we held on and actually came out better in the second half than in the first half. We’ve been known to fall kind of in the second half for some reason but i really feel like today we realized what we had to do and we turned it around in the second half and started to click like a crew.
Falcons senior Talon Briggs ran under a through ball and took it in midfield where a Kenai defender tagged it, but Briggs moved around and put in a shot on goal which was blocked, he recovered and put it in front of the keeper for 2-0.
“We haven’t made any changes,” TMHS coach Tim Lewis said. “The guys just came out to play. They wanted this. They kind of made it happen, so hats off to them. They know I want a clean sheet, so I hope it affects them. It was good to keep them goalless and it’s always good to have goals too. I only have one game left to coach and it will be the last games for these kids and we can fire them. I can’t wait to be there and I can’t wait to rest after that.
A tough defensive backfield for the Falcons stifled the Grizzlies in the final 10 minutes as TMHS goaltender Miles Peterson and senior center back Darin Tingey closed the box.
“Darin made a huge save for us at the end,” Lewis said. “He doesn’t get a lot of credit most of the time because if they score they’re either going to blame the goalkeeper or him being the last back. He covered Miles (Peterson) and made a great save. “Again, nothing more you could ask of a central defender. And once you have a guy who does it, it passes on to everyone. It was very contagious at the end.
Tingey said he expected the attacks.
“I really focused on knowing where everyone was at,” Tingey said. “I knew once we scored they were going to try and play against us. So I just tried to watch the runs and the long balls and try to be prepared for that. I think we “We definitely stepped up. After John (Magalhaes) put the first in that kind of strengthening my mind, then everyone was playing their best.
One of the biggest goals came in stoppage time from one of their smaller players as junior Caden Cunningham came off the bench and found the back of the net. Magalhaes provided the assist to Cunningham on a through ball, rewarding the junior college player for his supporting season.
Briggs received the ASAA Player of the Game honor.
Now, the Juneau Towns rivalry has moved north and the Falcons will face the Crimson Bears in the state championship game at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Service High School Field.
“I’m very excited,” Wallace Adams said. “It’s great to have a rivalry that goes all the way back to your hometown. It’s cool to see two teams from Juneau in the championship regardless of who wins.