It was a good night for the Humboldt-Del Norte League in North Coast Section soccer on Wednesday, with four local teams advancing to the championship games.
In boys action, Fortuna and Del Norte both knocked off higher seeds on the road to advance to the Division-I decider.
While in girls action, Arcata won on the road at Fortuna to earn the right to play for the Division-I championship against Eureka, which comfortably took care of Middletown 5-0.
The four teams join the St. Bernard’s girls, who will play for the Division-III title against Technology, with all the championship games taking place on Saturday.
Fortuna 4, Fort Bragg 0
Fernando Atilano scored twice to lead the No. 3 seed Huskies past the No .2 Timberwolves at Fort Bragg High School.
Aaron Mignon, who has stepped up his play in recent weeks, also got on the scoresheet, with Antonio Garcinuno closing out the scoring.
“It was a good match,” Fortuna head coach Daniel Holmes said. “I think we came out with some intensity tonight.”
Jackson Fairbanks continued to lead the way at the back for the Huskies, who improved to 21-1-2 on the season.
“I was happy with the way they moved the ball, and the back line did a good job again,” the Fortuna coach added.
Luis Atilano also created chances for the Huskies, keeping the home team on their toes throughout.
The loss was the first on the season for Fort Bragg and sets up a rematch for the Huskies with league rival Del Norte, which knocked off top seed International on the road.
Del Norte 2, International 1, OT
The Del Norte Warriors advanced to play for the NCS title in dramatic circumstances at Kezar Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The No. 5 seed Warriors rallied from an early deficit to tie the game midway through the second half, with Ramsey Gonzalez in the right spot to score off a rebound on a shot by Daniel Bertelsen.
Johan Ramirez then scored the winner off a Brandon Lopez corner kick four minutes into overtime.
With the win, their second on the road in the postseason, the Warriors improve to 13-2-3.
“Hat’s off to them, and congrats. That’s a big step for them,” Holmes said of the Warriors. “It’s a great showing for our league.”
Del Norte is the only team to take any points off the high-flying Huskies over the last 15 games, tying them 2-2 in the league finale.
Both of Del Norte’s losses this season, however, have come against Fortuna.
The championship will be played at Fortuna High on Saturday night.
Eureka 5, Middletown 0
The Eureka girls cruised to the NCS championship game with a comfortable win over the Mustangs at Albee Stadium.
The No. 1 seed Loggers got a pair of goals from Olivia Stone, as well as one each from Klayre Barres, Keylei Carroll and Maddie Evansizer.
“Middletown definitely put the pressure on our girls for the full 80 minutes,” Eureka head coach Andy Salatnay said. “They made us work every second of the game, but our ladies responded very well.
“I’m proud of them for sticking to the game plan.”
With the win the Loggers improved to 18-0 on the season, and have now posted 17 shutouts.
Defensively, the Loggers rose to the challenge against the highest scoring offense they have faced all season, with senior first-year goalkeeper Sadie Wilkinson in control throughout.
“Sadie Wilkinson stepped up for us,” Salatnay said. “She made some big saves.”
Carroll’s goal was spectacular, and a candidate for goal of the season.
“It was one of the sickest goals,” the Eureka head coach said. “A half volley in the air with the back of her heel. Ibrahamovic style. It was beautiful.”
Evansizer also had a big night, and was a constant threat down the flank.
“She created a lot of chaos on the left wing,” Salatnay said.
The win sets up an NCS championship showdown with rivals Arcata on Saturday.
Middletown close out the season at 21-3-2.