The Fortuna girls left little doubt on Wednesday as to who was the best soccer team in the H-DNL this season.
It may have been a battle all the way against Eureka and Arcata, but when all was said and done there was only one team left standing unbeaten, and only one champion.
“It’s something special for the school,” head coach Kathleen Lynch said of the league title, which was the first ever for the Huskies in girls soccer. “And it was neat to see this group of girls do something unique for their school.”
The Huskies closed out with an 8-2 win over McKinleyville at Fortuna, completing an undefeated league campaign (10-0-2) and improving to 13-0-2 overall.
With the win, they secured the league crown outright, after clinching at least a share of it over the weekend.
Next up is the North Coast Section playoffs, where the Huskies will undoubtedly receive the top seed in Division I, with the action getting under way next week.
Overcoming a slow start
Wednesday’s game epitomized the team’s season in many ways.
“It was a little bit of a rough start,” said Lynch, whose team has been notorious for slow starts all season. “McKinleyville did a great job putting some pressure on us.
“We kind of flipped a switch at halftime and had a much better showing in the second half.”
Aubrie Hall and Kallia Yang each finished with a hat trick in the win, while Lluvia Mathias and Darly Diaz each also scored.
On what was senior day, it was an appropriate finish to the regular season for senior co-captain Diaz, who has been a constant for the team all season.
Mathias, meanwhile, scored off an assist from fellow freshman Lauren Brito.
“Really in the second half, it was a team effort,” Lynch said. “We picked everything up, and we had great intensity.”
Tinney shines for Mack
Mackenzie Bray had a goal and an assist for the Panthers, while Sofia Reyes also scored.
Defensively, Kathryn Tinney had an outstanding day against the league champs.
The Huskies have had to overcome some adversity on the way to the league title, coming together as a team more and more as the season progressed.
“We definitely had a few injuries to overcome, and people just kind of kept stepping up and filling in,” Lynch said. “I really appreciate the unselfish play of this team. It’s a fun group in that sense.”
The Huskies will find out their playoff opponent on Sunday.