Fortuna girls top Arcata to keep pace in H-DNL

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Photos by Ray Hamill/

By Ray Hamill — A Sarah Killfoil penalty kick five minutes from time proved to be the difference in a key H-DNL girls soccer matchup on Monday, as the Fortuna Huskies snuck a 1-0 win at Arcata.

The win lifts the Huskies to 4-0 in league play and keeps them right on the heels of leaders Eureka (5-0), while the Tigers fell to 3-2.

Killfoil showed no nerves netting from the spot late in the game after a dangerous cross resulted in a handball inside the box.

Killfoil calmly slotted the ball low and to the right of Arcata goalie Skaidra Pulley.

It was one of the few clearcut chances created in the game, with both defenses controlling a tight and evenly-matched affair.

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“It was great to win tonight, but it could easily have gone the other way,” Fortuna head coach Kathleen Lynch said. 

Both goalies played well, mopping up anything that came their way, with the vocal Pulley taking on a much bigger leadership role this season.

At the other end, Arlette Cruz had an impressive shutout against one of the most dangerous front lines on the North Coast, making the right decisions throughout.

“She came off her line well tonight,” Lynch said of the junior shot stopper.

The loss was the second in league play for the Arcata girls, who also fell to Eureka nine days ago.

And it was a disappointing way to lose out after a solid effort from the home players.

“It’s always hard to see a game decided on a penalty kick,” Stranahan said. “It was a great back and forth match.”

Zoe Leonard continued to set the tone at the back for an ever improving Arcata defense, alongside the equally impressive Sophia Salinas.

Along with fullbacks Tildy Macdonald and Jocelyn Bliven, they gave the Fortuna attack very little space or opportunities.

In center midfield, Zakiya Elloway and Michaela Macdonald also impressed for the home team, as did the ever-industrious Bailey Cherms up front.

Not to be out-done, the Fortuna pairing of Killfoil and Nyah Cacren were equally impressive in the middle of the park, although Lynch admitted afterwards she would like to see her players attack the ball better.

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“I would like to see us step up to the ball a little faster,” the long-time head coach said, adding that “Arcata hustled all night.”

At the back for the visitors, Sarah Hohman anchored a very impressive showing, alongside Malia Bolden, Moncerrat Bernal and Erica Carrillo.

“Our back line again, they just do a good job covering each other,” Lynch said.

Stranahan was equally happy with his back line.

“Our defense did a good job holding their own back there,” the Arcata coach said. 

4 replies »

  1. Defense…write it down here and coaches will follow…

    How come there are not more females coaching the ladies teams…

    Del Norte already broke the ice with a female coaching the gentlemen’s team… but it sure seems disproportionate when it comes to males coaching ladies teams…

    Hats off to both Fortuna and South Fork ladies coaches for long term longevity…

    … at least some of the stars are aligned properly…

  2. It was a shame to see such a great game decided by such a lousy call, and one that was only made after the Fortuna coaches complained. That said, nice job by Sarah K to convert the penalty kick, those aren’t a given. And great effort by both teams.

  3. High school ball here is like rec. ball, pretty sad. The game was boring and cluttered, no excitement from either side.

    • Warmack, that is what happens when the CIF, NCS and HDNL sabotage soccer. It sucks wads because teams from yesteryears long ago her way better because locally parents cared more about the success of the sport as opposed to the selfishness and control issues it’s screwed up the traveling League and the rec league…

      Long ago henchy spearheaded all by his lonesome class 3 which was a bridge between Recreation and the travel teams… it was successful until the parents screwed that up for all three…

      … when you don’t have a strong Humboldt Del Norte League because the parents in administration of each of the schools don’t do their best to support the sport, and when parents get all pissy with control issues and screw the sport at the recreational, class 3 and travel teams that are supposed to feed Humboldt Del Norte League high schools…

      … then your observation is reasonable and accurate as to the assessment of what you witness comparatively to years past and giving non-local teams consideration in competitiveness levels…

      … but don’t blame the players or harp on them, it’s not their fault that adults don’t do their best for the players, especially in an educational setting where henchy was taught years ago it was all about Improvement and being the best of the best, even if you could never be the best… you were given the opportunity to attempt to be the best… isn’t that what education is all about… providing something for the students to immerse themselves to become better educated, knowledgeable, etc…

      Schools practice good health in the classroom, in books and in the cafeteria, so it makes all sense that being involved in sports provides that much and more including better physical health and educational examples to learn a game from the standpoint of its rules and tactics and observations and confidence-building and learning how to structure and form… no different than a drama class acting out a play write from Amadeus or Romeo and Juliet… there is Grace to sports and humbleness… and camaraderie…

      Good luck to all youth/student players because they’ll need it since too many adults are failing them…

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