Tigers have plenty of experience in key areas


Photos by Ray Hamill/ – Arcata junior Zoe Leonard returns to anchor the Tigers defense in 2019.

By Ray Hamill — After finishing runners-up in the North Coast Section to a dominating and undefeated Eureka team in 2018, the Arcata Tigers will be hoping to go one better this fall.

And they would appear to have the experience to do so, particularly in key areas of the field.

Co-captains Zoe Leonard in defense, Zakia Elloway in midfield and Bailey Cherms up front will give head coach Patrick Stranahan a solid core to build his team’s challenge around.

“We have captains through the spine of the team,” the head coach said. 

Behind them, senior Skaidra Pulley gives the Tigers a solid last line of defense between the posts after pulling off some spectacular saves a year ago.


Arcata goalkeeper Skaidra Pulley

Junior Sophia Salinas will partner Leonard in the heart of defense, with basketball star Jocelyn Bliven, who has played soccer for AC Samoa, will join the team and is expected to start at one of the fullback spots.

Sophomore Tildy Macdonald, one of three sisters on the team, will start at the other fullback slot, with her twin sister Annie playing outside midfield.

Older sister Michaela Macdonald will start in the center of the field alongside Elloway, with Linda Carlson, a transfer from Seattle, starting on the other wing.


Arcata’s Sophia Salinas

Up front, freshman Thea Trout will be expected to adapt to the varsity game quickly and will start alongside Cherms.

“We have some very strong returning players and a younger group that’s coming up,” Stranahan said. “The chemistry is amazing already. There’s no cliques, they’re all on the same page.”

The Tigers were scheduled to kick off the season this weekend at their own Eye of the Tiger tournament, but were forced to cancel the event due to a lack of out-of-the-area teams willing to travel.

Categories: Arcata, Soccer, Sports

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2 replies »

  1. Spine of the team… coach tries to sound like some British commentator Over The Boob Tube, lol…

    … and the first way you beat a team is snap their spine in half…cripple the middle…yes,


  2. Formations and countering alignments with trapping/hybrid zone defense positions… the stalwart of arrogance that any mouthy coach will come to appreciate…

    … where the worst team in any League in Talent…

    …can make the top team in the league look confused and silly and humbled in their smallest of marginal victories…

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