By Ray Hamill — Eureka senior captain Olivia Stone scored three goals in Wednesday’s 6-0 win over McKinleyville at Albee Stadium, as the Loggers inched closer to clinching the Humboldt-Del Norte League.
What was more impressive, however, was the manner in which two of those goals were scored.
The Loggers have dominated their opponents all season, allowing just two goals in the 10 games they’ve played.
They understand the game better than most of their opponents, and just as importantly they understand each other better than most of their opponents.
And their off-the-ball movement is exceptional at times.
All of this was on display with those two goals, on moves that also involved fellow senior captain Athena Miller and sophomore Klayre Barres, who has fast established herself as one of top players in the league.
It was Barres who kickstarted the first of these two goals late in the first half, winding her way down the right wing before crossing dangerously into the six-yard box, where Miller got to the ball and passed across the goalmouth for an open Stone, who slotted home untouched.
It was a simple, yet brilliant team move.
The second of these two goals came after the break, on an even better move (see video), with Miller’s pinpoint pass from midfield finding an open Barres, who crossed into the penalty area where Stone beat her defender to the ball for a 5-0 lead.
“We had better diagonal moves, and better communicating,” Eureka head coach Andy Salatnay said. “And we were able to find the second attacker.”
Barres added two goals herself in the win, and Adriana Newland the other, as the Loggers improved to 11-0 on the season and never looked in danger of losing this one.
Rue shines for Panthers
The Panthers played a far better second half, with goalkeeper Hannah Rue stopping several shots behind a well-organized defense.
Cecelia Ferreira was outstanding again in the heart of defense, alongside Olivia Rink, Hadley Ward and Sheriden Sinnen, each of whom made several crucial tackles.
“In the second half, we defended well,” McKinleyville head coach Adam Canepa said. “We competed better in the second half. Our shape was better.”
Up front for McKinleyville, the ever-dangerous Dakota Andersonspirit and Rayn Tripp caused the Eureka defense some concern, although the visitors’ opportunities were few and far between.
“They’re a really talented team,” Canepa said of Eureka. “So I was alright with the way we played. We played a really good second half, and Eureka’s kind of a second-half team.”
The inevitable will likely be achieved when the Loggers play Ferndale on Saturday, where a win will see them claim their second straight championship outright.