A young Del Norte Warriors team made a big statement on opening day in H-DNL boys soccer, in what was supposed to be a rebuilding season for a program that has been one of the best on the North Coast in recent years.
The Warriors, who have just three seniors on their roster of 12, came away from Eureka with a 3-1 win.
“We were very solid defensively, and that’s what kicked the game in our favor,” said Del Norte head coach David Sanyaolu, whose team had to withstand a lot of Eureka pressure. “Eureka is a very good team. They pass the ball well and their movement is very good.”
The Warriors got off to a great start and their high press paid immediate dividends when Adrian Chavez-Arias scored the opening goal less than a minute in.
Fresh off an impressive season in cross country, Eureka’s Ian Bennett scored an unassisted goal to tie things up in the opening half, leaving the game deadlocked at the interval.
But the visitors got the better of exchanges in the second half, with goals from Yahir Alanis and Jose Regalado to secure the win.
“We dominated possession. It was the kind of game where the ball didn’t want to go in,” Eureka head coach Eddie Garcia said. “The boys gave it a great effort.”
Junior captain David Parra had a big game for the Loggers.
The Warriors, meanwhile, graduated nine seniors from last year’s team and will rely heavily on a trio of seniors on this year’s team, Chavez, Regalado and Jovanni Gonzalez.
“They’ve been very solid for us teaching the young guys,” Sanyaolu said of his seniors. “We’re just trying to play simple soccer and good defense and be very sharp in attack.”
The head coach also has liked the attitude of his players through preseason practice.
“They listen to all the coaches,” he said. “And we’re hoping that the example of the three seniors will rub off on the underclassmen.”
So far so good.
Next up, on Saturday the Warriors host Arcata, while Eureka plays at McKinleyville.