By Ray Hamill — The Fortuna girls scored twice in the opening 10 minutes of Friday’s NCS Division-I playoff soccer game, setting the tone early in a 6-1 win over visiting St. Helena.
The game was part of a doubleheader with the Fortuna boys, who got the better of Credo 4-0 to get the evening’s action under way.
The Fortuna girls are seeded No. 1 in the D-I bracket, and they looked the part with a dominating performance.
Perhaps the most satisfying aspect of the performance was the team’s fast start, something the Huskies have had problems this season, as they quickly and decisively ended the game as a contest with a third goal inside half an hour.
“We were happy to get the quick start we were looking for,” Fortuna head coach Kathleen Lynch said. “And I felt we did a good job in possession.”
With the ever-reliable Nyah Cacren and Sarah Killfoil controlling the center of the field, the Huskies looked fluid in possession, causing the visitors numerous problems throughout.
The starting front line of Kallia Yang and Aubrie Hall combined for all six Fortuna goals.
Yang scored four times and opened the Huskies’ account just four minutes in, using her speed to run onto a through ball and slotting home with a well-placed shot.
Another through ball set up Hall less than six minutes later, as the visitors were unable to deal with Yang’s speed or Hall’s creativity and physical presence.
With the game well in hand long before the final whistle, Lynch went deep to her bench.
“It was great for us to be able to get everybody some minutes out there,” the coach said. “And some playoff experience.”
Yang had one of her most impressive outings.
“Kallia was pretty tactful in finding the back of the net tonight,” Lynch said.
Overall, it was another solid team effort for the league champions, who remained unbeaten on the season and improved to 15-0-2.
The coach praised the players’ unselfish play, something she says she really appreciates about this group.
In goal, sophomore Kelsie Hall shut out the visitors for much of the game, with the help of another strong performance from a back line anchored by Sarah Hohman and Malia Bolden.
“She did well,” Lynch said of the goalkeeper, who took over for the injured Arlette Cruz late in the season. “She’s definitely doing some learning on the fly. But she’s working hard at practice and doing everything we ask of her.”
The Huskies will play either Roseland Prep or Middletown in Wednesday’s semifinal.