Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - A Thunder Mountain sophomore turned the soccer tide on senior night at the Falcons home pitch in a 3-1 win over the visiting Juneau-Douglas High School Yadaa.at Kalé Crimson Bears. The Falcons’ Preston Lam let loose a shot from 35 yards out at 32 minutes of the first half and the ball arched just enough to sail over the Crimson Bears goalie for a 1-0 advantage.
“Gavin (Gende) dropped me the ball at the 35 yard line,” Lam said. “And I was thinking I really want to score my first goal on senior night and impress all these seniors that taught me everything I know, especially making varsity. When I hit it, it felt really nice. And when I saw the keeper put his hands up I knew it was going in the back of the net. I love all these seniors. They taught me everything I know. I started playing soccer in eighth grade and all these seniors helped me out so much and I appreciate them. This is their last year. I really want them to have a great time. I love them all and I really appreciate how much effort, hard work and dedication they put into this team for us to win.”
The Crimson Bears had held a 7-2 shot advantage before Lam’s goal and the score awakened the Falcons side.
Thunder Mountain began to take physical control of the late minutes of the first half and extended that into the second 40 minutes of action.
“They beat us up, and I don’t mean that in a bad way,” Juneau-Douglas coach Gary Lehnhart said. “Sports is physicality and we are young and we are learning that the game can get rough.”
The Crimson Bears were more aggressive in the second half.
“That is going to happen with these young players,” Lehnhart said. “They are going to realize that is part of the game and they are going to get stronger. It was a good learning experience. Once again, we were just inefficient in the attacking third. They are much more efficient than we are there and that is what the score showed.”
Thunder Mountain senior Meki Toutaiolepo played keeper in the first half but transitioned to forward in the second half and with 19 minutes elapsed after half time he found a rebound in a scrum in front of the Juneau-Douglas box and brought it into the net for his first career goal.
“Feels good in my first year of play, learning the sport and scoring a ball for my team,” Toutaiolepo said. “A shout out to Phillip Lam for giving me a nice easy assist, if it wasn’t for Phillip I wouldn’t have got that score. I would like to thank my team too for having me out there, for being there for me.”
Thunder Mountain junior Talon Briggs battled in a group in front of the Juneau-Douglas goal and the ball found his foot with 27 minutes elapsed and bounced into the net for a 3-0 advantage.
“Honestly I have no idea,” Briggs said. “It was just bouncing around in the box and just happened to come to me and I kicked it in. It worked out.”
Juneau-Douglas junior Callan Smith gave the Crimson Bears a slim hope when he alertly played a mishandled ball by the Falcons junior keeper Miles Peterson and touched a shot in from inside the box with just five minutes remaining in the match.
“It was not a great pass back to Miles so he tried to handle it and misplayed the kick,” Smith said. “I was able to get a foot to it and beat him to the ball and slotted it away. The big thing for us is physicality for sure, just upping our physicality and intensity and I think we will do a little bit better next time.”
This was the Thunder Mountain boys soccer program’s first senior night win against Juneau-Douglas.
“That was awesome,” Thunder Mountain coach Tim Lewis said. “I don’t remember the last time, if ever, that has happened. It was very rewarding. I am happy for our seniors, they came to play. I got a lot of them on the field, even the ones that don’t normally get to play, they played well too.”