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By A.J. JANKOWSKI
Daily News Sports Editor
Four minutes into the second half Saturday at Esther Shea Field, Juneau-Douglas’ Nick Stewart sprinted through the defense and came in on Ketchikan High School boys soccer goalkeeper Jens Christianson.
Stewart aimed for the far post, but his shot was blocked by a superb, left-arm save by Christianson.
But the Kings’ keeper only could watch as Stewart — unmarked by a Kayhi defender — calmly gathered the rebound and put it into the empty net.
For neither the first nor last time in the humbling 5-0 loss to the Crimson Bears, Christianson couldn’t catch a break.
"It's kind of — I guess it's disappointing," the co-captain said after the game. "But it's the nature of the game. All I can do is do my best, and keep my head up."
It’s not just the nature of the game, but also the nature of the relationship between Kayhi boys soccer and Juneau-Douglas — a team the Kings have lost to 52 times in 54 tries.
"We got out-played," said head coach Scott Brandt-Erichsen, whose team last beat J-D in 2003. "They positioned themselves well. They really support each other well on their passes. They out-played us."
This one was over from the first foot race, as the Crimson Bears’ speed exposed Kayhi’s backline.
Ryan Hoover put Juneau-Douglas on the scoreboard in the 9th minute, busting down the left flank and in on goal to beat Christianson on the near post.
"They filled space so quick," said Kayhi co-captain Conner Pope. "It seemed like they came out a lot faster than we did. I wouldn't say we came back on our heels, but we didn't come back confident, either."
Following a pair of point-blank stops by the Kayhi goalkeeper on Jackson Lehnhart and Hoover, respectively, Hoover came in on another breakaway.
This time, Christianson made a kick save, but the ball fell straight to an unmarked Manase Maake, who put J-D ahead 2-0 five minutes before halftime.
Stewart scored twice in the second half, and Stuart Thurston scored the Bears’ fifth goal before Kayhi registered a shot on goal.
"They always had men around our 18 (yard) box,"?said Pope, who relieved Christianson in net after the fifth tally. "With men out there like that, if our defense doesn't clear it enough, then it ends up right back to them. If our defenders can't disrupt it, and get the ball upfield over their heads, then it ends up staying in the same place, and eventually they make their way in."
The Kings eventually slowed down the odd-man rushes, but only after Juneau-Douglas began filtering in substitutes and Kayhi moved its fastest player, Jake Potts, from midfield to defense.
The loss dropped Kayhi’s record to 5-2-1 on the season, and meant unseating J-D as Southeast’s champion likely will have to wait another year.
But the loss doesn’t signal the end of this season, and the Kings are eager to rebound next week, when they head north on their annual trip to the Kenai Peninsula.
Besides, there’s nothing else to do but move forward.
"It is what it is," Pope said. "Juneau is Juneau, and we're Kayhi.
"We'll come back next weekend the same way we came into this weekend. I mean, there's always that factor that this is the team we haven't won against in years. But there are plenty more teams out there for us to compete with, and we're looking forward to those."