By Ray Hamill — The Eureka Loggers got their league campaign off to flying start in both boys and girls soccer on Wednesday night, sweeping a doubleheader from McKinleyville at Albee Stadium.
The girls stormed out of the starting gates with a dominating first-half performance in a 5-0 win in the nightcap, following a 3-0 win for the boys that suggested they’re eager to challenge for a league crown this season.
“From the very start, they wanted it more,” McKinleyville head coach Ryne Deppe said of the Eureka boys, who avenged a 5-2 pre-league defeat to the Panthers two weeks ago. “We beat them, now they beat us.”
Luis Romero and Kai Gallegos each netted first-half goals for Eureka, the latter on a spectacular free kick 30 yards from goal that went in at the back post.
“He called that,” Eureka head coach Eddie Garcia said. “He’s been practicing that.”
Aidyn Campbell closed out the scoring in a second half that saw plenty of chances at both ends of the field.
The third goal, however, took the wind out of the Panthers’ challenge late in the game.
“We believe in the system and we’re trying to put what we work on in practice into the game,” Garcia said. “I felt we moved the ball well. We defended as a team and we attacked as a team.”
Eureka’s David Parra had a big game in the center of the field, controlling the tempo of play.
“He broke up plays when we needed him to,” Garcia said of the sophomore standout.
Grant Barrera also had a big game in the heart of defense, stuffing out numerous McKinleyville threats and looking composed throughout.
“I’m super proud of all of them,” Garcia said.
For Mack, Alex Macy had a good game anchoring the defense, alongside the impressive Rocco Previde, a sophomore.
Both goalkeepers, Eureka’s Jiagdae Her and McKinleyville’s Ethan Shelly, made some big stops, including a spectacular diving save by Her midway through the second half.