ANCHORAGE — Last May, the Colony Knights stood on the Service High School turf stunned. Their season was over and the Dimond Lynx were celebrating a 1-0 shootout victory over the Knights in the state title game. Colony returned to Service High and the state championship match on Saturday, and after a 363-day wait, the Knights finally had their chance to celebrate.
Colony used a 2-0 win over West Anchorage to win the Division I boys’ state title during the final day of the ASAA/First National Bank State Soccer Championships.
“Redemption,” Colony senior Sullivan Menard said after the win. “This year we knew what we had to do to get it done.”
Colony senior Noah Krozel said the Knights have been working for this championship since falling to the Lynx in the heartbreaker last year.
“Our whole season, from a year ago to today, was for this moment,” Krozel said.
Colony head coach Jeremy Johnson, who led the Knights to their third state title since 2000, said his players found a way to benefit from the tough loss in the 2018 final.
“You benefit from tough losses. Tough losses educate all of us,” Johnson said. “You learn from your experiences. You can’t leave anything on the field.”
Johnson said the Knights talked about what they needed to do to make sure they didn’t find themselves in another shootout.
“It’s such a random thing, the shootout,” Johnson said. “That’s one of the things we talked about all year.”
Both of Colony’s losses during the regular season came in 1-0 games. In both games, Colony had great opportunities and near misses. He compared those losses to the Dimond match in the state final last year, a match that was scoreless until penalty kicks.
“When we get there this year, we can’t have that happen. We’ve got to find the back of the net. And we did twice,” Johnson said.
Seniors Hugo Pochon and Kyle Dearborn scored for the Knights in the win. Mark Matthews earned the shutout in the Colony net.
Pochon gave Colony a 1-0 lead during the 34th minute, popping a shot high into the net during a scramble in front of the West goal. Pochon’s score came after a handful of quality chances during the final 20 minutes of the first half. In the 26th minute, Dearborn fired a shot on goal from the top of the box. Shawn McMillian followed with a shot off the rebound. West goalie Reese Schrage need two hands to stop both attempts. Three minutes later, Krozel fired a shot that was inches wide of the left post. Three minutes after that, Schrage used a kick save to stop another quality Dearborn chance.
“We were just trying to break the glass,” Krozel said. “It was only a matter of time before we did it.”
Menard said he felt the momentum build with the quality chances that came before the Pochon goal.
“We were definitely feeding off those chances,” Menard said.
Dearborn scored six minutes into the second half to give Colony the 2-0 lead.
“It gave us a cushion for the rest of the half,” Krozel said.
Colony advanced to the title game with a 4-2 win over Dimond in the quarterfinals and a 1-0 win over previously undefeated Service in the semifinals.
“We had to go through the toughest opponents to get here,” Menard said. “I think this was the perfect way to finish.”
Colony girls finish third
The Colony girls finished third in the Division I tourney with a 1-0 win over rival Wasilla Saturday afternoon. Gabby Wakaliuk converted a penalty kick late in the game to provide the lone goal.
Contact Frontiersman managing editor Jeremiah Bartz at firstname.lastname@example.org.