A rarely-seen soccer throw-in by Thunder Mountain High School sophomore Emily Heaton late in the first half Friday night was not the underclassmen showing off.
It was just Heaton following coach John Newell’s orders.
With her team trailing 2-0 to West Anchorage High School and the clock winding down on the first half, Heaton put a little extra juice on her throw by doing a forward somersault leading up to the throw. And while TMHS still lost 3-1 to the visiting Eagles, Newell said the play — which led to a shot on goal — pumped up his team and initiated a spirited second-half effort.
“It energized them,” Newell said. “Just having that happen right there, it was awesome.”
With one game left in Juneau, the Eagles improve to 3-1-2. The Falcons are now 0-3-0.
The Falcons struggled to even register a shot on net in the first half. But TMHS played evenly with West Anchorage in the second half.
“I kept telling them that they could play with this team,” Newell said. “Towards the end, you could see them start to transition to where they actually believed they could and they started to get some shots on goal.”
One such TMHS shot on goal led to a gritty goal by senior Anna Rivest in the 56th minute.
Senior Azure Briggs’ free kick from 30 yards out smacked into the crossbar before coming straight down onto the field. The ball bounced once on the goal line before Rivest swooped in and scored. She said the ball was basically in the net when she got to it.
“It was very close,” Rivest said. “Hit the crossbar, through the goalie’s hands, and then I was there for the finish. We’re just taught to follow through on anything that’s anywhere near the goal.”
It would be the final goal of the game for either side.
Senior Isabella Roberts and sophomore Skyler Helgeson each scored in the first half. Helgeson scored a second time early in the second half.
It was the third consecutive day of soccer for the Eagles, who tied Dimond 0-0 on Wednesday before losing to Juneau-Douglas High School 3-0 on Thursday.
“I think we did a really good job of working as a team,” West senior Tabitha Wheeler said. “We had a lot of players in new positions that they’ve never played before so I think that the team members that are usually playing those positions did a good job of communicating with the other players.”
TMHS heads to Ketchikan this weekend for games against the Kings.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or email@example.com. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter