Eureka girls overcome defensive Crusaders in H-DNL tournament


Photos by Ray Hamill/

By Ray Hamill — The Crusaders found a way to frustrate a high-scoring Loggers offense in foggy conditions on Wednesday, but ultimately they were unable to stop them.

Playing their second game in 24 hours, St. Bernard’s came into the Humboldt-Del Norte League tournament showdown with a defensive system, and it caused the No. 1 seed Eureka girls plenty of problems.

But a patient performance by the Loggers paid off with three late goals in a 4-0 victory at Albee Stadium.

“They definitely had a very defensive approach,” Eureka head coach Andy Salatnay said. “It threw us off our game.”


Playing a team that had outscored its opponents  93-2 in league play, the Crusaders sat deep and soaked up the pressure, while hoping to catch the Loggers on the counter.

“I think we out-coached them for the game,” St. Bernard’s assistant coach Phil Rouse said. “They didn’t know what to do.”

Early lead

The Loggers took an early lead with their senior co-captains combining for the goal, when Olivia Stone netted off a corner kick by Athena Miller.

After that, however, the visitors shut down shop and held the potent Eureka attack at bay for the following hour of play.

Senior Jasa Sisemore anchored the disciplined defensive display, as the Crusaders allowed little room through the middle while making a series of tackles and interceptions to clear the ball time and again.


It forced the Loggers into a different mindset themselves, and that’s something Salatnay feels will benefit his players down the line in the North Coast Section playoffs.

“It definitely made us be more creative in our offensive approach,” the Eureka head coach said. 

Three quick goals

When the Loggers finally ended the long scoreless spell with Stone’s second goal of the game, they quickly added two more in the following nine minutes for a more flattering final scoreline.

Stone’s second goal came off an assist by Aquena Tolfeson, who worked her way down the side and passed inside to the senior captain, who side-stepped a defender and scored with a well-placed shot.

Maddie Evansizer assisted on the third goal, setting up Tolfeson who scored from the edge of the box and got a little help on a deflection.


St. Bernard’s goalie Maddie Costa was outstanding between the posts once again against the Loggers.

Senior Hannah Taylor closed out the scoring with six minutes remaining, with the help of an assist by Rebecca Russ.

In goal for St. Bernard’s, Maddie Costa had another standout game, facing down 25 shots on goal and turning away 21 of them.

“She definitely kept us out of the game a little bit,” Salatnay said.

NCS playoffs

With the win, the Loggers advance to Saturday’s H-DNL tourney championship, where they will host either Arcata or Fortuna, who play in Thursday’s second semifinal.

The Loggers are now 15-0 on the season.


Eureka head coach Andy Salatnay talks to his players after the game.

St. Bernard’s, which defeated McKinleyville 3-2 in overtime just 24 hours earlier, dropped to 14-9-1.

The Crusaders will now turn their attention to the NCS Division-III playoffs, where they should be among the top three seeds.

The NCS playoffs get under way next week, although the Crusaders are likely to have a first-round bye.

Saturday’s H-DNL tourney championship is set for 11 a.m. at Albee Stadium.

13 replies »

  1. Way to put the focus on adults Phil, lol.

    How about SB girls played well defensively….or was this a one sided match of fusbol by staff?

    • “Henchman of Justice” What is the justice due for a team that plays at a level well below their capability? The main rivals of the Eureka team all play club soccer in NorCal Premier League, so why would the coaches and adults think a “perfect season” means something in this high school league? It simply means that Eureka is not playing at the right level of competition that would be best for their growth considering the number of Platinum club players on the roster. Most coaches in the community agree and see this for what it is…Eureka chose to play against the likes of South Fork and Ferndale (running up the score in all of those games), instead of being challenged at an “appropriate” level of play that is at or at least closer to “Platinum level.”.

      Even against St. Bernard’s Eureka kept all starters in to run up the score instead of developing younger inexperienced players.Last night all 15 rostered players played for St B’s. The Eureka coach calling us “rivals” is a joke. Your rivals play club soccer in NorCal Premier League. Why the coach and the parents chose to play the likes of Ferndale and South Fork is beyond comprehension.

      While you are patting yourself on the back for excelling with inferior competition, the Eureka team will play at the level of competition and perhaps limit their growth and development, which in my opinion, and the opinion of many local coaches is and should be much higher. But if it makes the Eureka parent mob feel good to brag on social media, I guess that is probably fun too. Whether or not is has a foundation based in soccer reality is debatable.

      While you have appointed yourself to be the rules and conduct decider, what is your take on last year? When Eureka and Arcata changed the high school schedule to play in a Platinum tournament as registered NorCal Premier Club players (US Club) were you aware that that is an NCS violation? High School players are prohibited to play club soccer during the high school season. You could go to the link on Got Soccer and see the rostered players who all attended the SRU (Santa Rosa United) Nike Premier Harvest Wine Cup. Your results for the Gold Division games are still on the public website at if you click the game history and go to September 2017. You can see the Saturday and Sunday games played in the middle of the high school season.

      Unlike you, I am not afraid to put my name on this. I speak the truth and don’t hide behind any clever nicknames. I have played the game since 1972, I am a USSF (US Soccer Federation) certified coach, referee, referee instructor, referee assignor, and NISOA National referee for college soccer. I am in the Humboldt State Athletic Hall of Fame. I am a US Army Ranger and Honorably discharged for my six years of service as an infantry squad leader. I let my actions speak and my words are based on real experience.

      When you get your house in order, then feel free to comment. Until then I advise you to try and honor the game of soccer. It is a beautiful game that has many lessons to teach. Our team grows every year from this simple and timeless process.

      Good luck in the playoffs. You have a very good team. I just don’t think they will grow from playing at this level.

      • Phil, no need to get upset, just rousen ya, its all funny, Ray did a good thread on the Big 4 coaches being really good…soccer next.

        Competition…ya…that was already brought up on another great thread before you bemoaned Oz The Great..but watch out, comments of attacking kids lets loose… something about the NCS and winter soccer and all those good teams leaving because they had it up to the ears with lesser competition, its a process that is timeless… you see the NCS just couldn’t change by way of rule through segregation cuz that would be a title 9 violation whereas the schools themselves can individually decide to go to winter soccer to get away from the, well, incompetition… that still needs coaches…who may be great, but are hogtied to politics in kids’ sports…and after the exodus, the NCS got to segregate anyways, the leftovers because now it was a cause by other activities not decreed by the NCS BOD.

        Now, time to read the rest of the peanut gallery tribute.

    • Exactly, but you can’t be drunk, close minded, putting thoughts into your own head out of context with what the point is, etc…good luck ladies!

      NCS segregation into the playoff brackets matches up school sizes, local teams have several divisions covered.

  2. I would have to disagree with outcoached.. to out coach you would have needed to change your approach after being scored on after 1:45 seconds debunking your approach of holding the team scoreless and going to pks.. after that score you would have needed to score and by not changing formation you had 0 chance of winning.. which means you coached for a loss which isint a very good approach.. maddie did a wonderful job being put under such pressure .. playing better competition makes you better .. i agree.. but dont discount these girls drive and dedication. Its not there fault other girls in the county do not take advantage of offseason play and strive to be better at therr craft… no other girls team has ever given up highschool for club.. ever.. the boys this year were the first and its a week gold league and only half the girls could play the others were to old.. and the real problem is the breakdown of the youth clubs and quality coaching…. so its a humboldt debacle.. but outcoached i think not.. but nice try. Goodluck in Ncs

  3. Your opinion reflects your inexperience of having never played past high school and that of the typical, over-invested, and hovering parent. NEVER have a doubted the drive and dedication of the girls on your team. I have known them for many years, as you have, and I have seen how good they are and how hard they train.

    My point was that using a sharp, high-precision tool (your team) on a blunt object (the HDN level of play) will eventually make it dull and less sharp. Implying that all other high school players are somehow lazy because they don’t play year round reveals the ugly side of club soccer snobbery that is also currently a “Humboldt debacle.” Your response perpetuates the snobbery in ways you can’t even check yourself on. Many high school players are multisport athletes whose primary sport is not actually soccer. Some of St Bernard’s top players fit this description and they are able to excel at several sports. Training year round for high school soccer implies that you are okay with the analogy above about sharp tools on blunt objects.

    The quote about “outcoached” was in the context of the next sentence; “They did not know what to do.” We gave up a goal line scramble (early goal) because we failed to clear. We stuck with our plan, not to win, but to practice and sharpen our defensive focus. When we sat back to absorb pressure your team had no idea what to do and it took an hour for them to break through. We used the game to prepare for the next step. We defended for 65 minutes and frustrated the Loggers over and over again. When the goals came, I would argue that they resulted more from tired legs than from any coaching innovations from your bench. My team had played 100 minutes of soccer the night before, which also influenced our defensive approach/plan.

    We moved our sweeper up in the last 7 minutes to try and get a consolation goal, but like I said, our goal was to work our plan and learn a few things as we prepare for the NCS opening round.

    Don’t forget that your school moved the game up to accommodate your fundraising efforts, which we honored, and came to work with our plan of improving our defensive focus. We accomplished that. We add another tool to our box and move onto our higher priorities and the goals we set as DIV 3 team for the playoffs.

    “No other girls team has given up high school for club;” is part of the “Humboldt debacle too… because parents would rather be a big fish in a small pond, playing for top county honors, than actually see if their players, who play year-round can compete with top club players in our region. With the exception of AC Samoa players, those top players play club in the fall while you play high school soccer, and they play high school soccer in the Spring when you play Nor Cal Premier League. You will be avoiding those players until it comes to tryouts for or competing for college playing time. Will your players be ready?

  4. I appreciate the comment of over invested hovering parent.. thanks i am very invested.. also a coach for 20 years at all levels including club. What you dont see is all the off feild training .. but hey i love the”big fish little pond” fits perfect.. good luck at Ncs..

  5. And phil with all honesty.. humboldts soccer problem is to many “ego’s” that wont come together for the greater good of all the kids… it could work if people would put there efforts together to move this county forward.. but good luck with that.. i consider you one of the best players ive seen in Humboldt, outstanding ref. And a good guy.. we all should realize thats what matters..
    Good luck at NCS cant agree on everything..

  6. Thanks for the love transition Scott. I am a “hovering parent” myself so I know what you mean there. I miss the times we shared playing on the Hooligans with other UPSers and such…good times.

    Those viewing this randy discussion may not know that you and I worked together at UPS for 15 years, played ball, etc.. Also, Andy Salatny and I go back a ways and we have been chatting through the day 1 on 1 since this venue is not the place for our topics. Even that silly little rabbit “the henchman” was refereeing with me around the time you were playing in HS…I know who he is (once I followed Erin Barre’s suggestion), and the fact that I was refereeing your high school games must mean I am really old.

    My intention in all this was to look at the numbers (goals scored versus goals allowed), not attack Eureka or Andy, who I consider a friend and admirable coach. I apologize if it was taken as an attack. I understand the challenge of having games where your team is scoring. We had a game in the first week against Clear Lake, when we had just come off of two weeks of beach conditioning and our opponent was much weaker. The final score was 11-1 and we kept reducing our players until we reached 8 left on the field in an attempt to end the scoring.

    I agree about the many egos swirling around different factions around coaches throughout Humboldt County. I have tried but failed to bring people together for a comprehensive club system that provides good coaching to a broader spectrum of players. I have chosen St Bernard’s because of the players, parents, and fellow coaches that I get to work with. We are a tight little family that gets better and better day by day.

    Good luck in NCS. I promise to give you a big hug when I see you next.

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