While crossing the border back into Alaska, the Juneau soccer team only had wins to declare.
Last year, with a mishmash of borrowed players from Whitehorse, the Juneau team finished in dead-last. But this year they left without a smear on their record, finishing first in the Whitehorse Rapids Over 35 Soccer Tournament held on the weekend at the Canada Games Centre.
“This year we got enough guys that are over 35,” said Juneau captain Pete Schneider. “You guys here can break away from work; for us we have to leave town for a couple days. It cuts down on people willing to come.”
The Juneau squad took the finals with a 6-1 win over Whitehorse’s Yukon Brewing team, scoring twice in the first two minutes, and going up 5-0 by halftime.
“We were trying to concentrate more on playing the game we want, slowing it down a little bit,” said Schneider, of the second half. “We wanted to come out strong and put some points up, so obviously we were doing that. We had a handle on it and we were doing pretty well fitness-wise and then we switched gears—we didn’t want to get injured—and we concentrated more on controlling the ball.”
Yukon Brewing avoided the shutout five minutes into the second on a goal by Scott Wood during a three-on-two rush. Surprisingly, the team was concentrating on defence to mitigate the loss.
“We started playing back more, we didn’t try to attack and we defended,” said Cory Adams, goalkeeper for Yukon Brewing. “We decided, let’s keep the score respectable.
“Who cares if we lose? We didn’t want to get blown out 10-0.”
In their defence, Yukon Brewing was without their star player, Justine Carre, who had to miss the finals because of work obligations.
“I had no one to pass to—someone who could play off the ball,” said Yukon Brewing’s Donovan Dias. “We just needed that one extra offensive punch, which we had yesterday.”
“It would have been a closer game if we had Justine,” said Adams. “But we’re happy we scored.”
Juneau defeated the Juneau co-ed team 3-2 to advance to the finals earlier in the day.
“One of their motivating players didn’t show up until half-time, so we took advantage of that,” said Schneider. “The co-ed team was playing a little easy, a little mellow in the first half, we were able to capitalize on that and put up two points.
“In the second half they were at full strength and it changed the game around and pretty soon we were almost on the defence.”
Coincidentally, Yukon Brewing faced the Whitehorse co-ed team to get to the finals, taking it 3-1.
The Juneau co-ed team went on to defeat the Whitehorse co-ed team 4-3 in the match for fifth place.
Two Whitehorse teams collided in the battle for third. In the end the Red Hot Chili Peppers—no relation to the rock band—defeated the Klondike Copiers 6-3.
For the most part the game was close, with the Peppers holding a one-goal lead at half. However, the Copiers began to unravel towards the end, letting in a pair of easy goals.
“We moved the ball a little better and we did get a couple easy goals,” said Chili Pepper goalkeeper Tony Gaw. “But like I said, without those easy goals it could have been 4-3, so it was a pretty tight game, all and all.”
The Peppers also won their first encounter during the round-robin section of the tournament, taking the game 3-2.
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