By Ray Hamill — You know you’re going to be in for a busy day when you’re the last line of defense going up against the high-flying Eureka Loggers in girls soccer.
But that didn’t seem to bother McKinleyville goalie Taya Gomes on Wednesday afternoon.
The sophomore shot stopper is one of several H-DNL players who have been forced to raise the level of their game this season when playing the relentless Eureka attack, which features multiple players who will be playing at the collegiate level in the fall.
Gomes and the Panthers may have lost the game 7-0, but the goalkeeper made a number of big saves despite playing injured, and earned the praise of both head coaches.
“She made so many close-range saves,” Eureka head coach Tommy Learmouth said. “I still don’t know how she managed to save some of them.”
Gomes has been a standout with the team since debuting as a freshman in 2019, and her game continues to improve, as does her leadership from the back.
“Taya played though injury and still made those saves,” McKinleyville head coach Adam Canepa said of Gomes, who refused to come out of the game. “She’s super comfortable there, and super confident, and she likes doing it. She’s always got a good attitude.”
Gomes is one of several young goalkeepers in the H-DNL who have raised the level of their game in the face of the dynamic Loggers attack, which has scored 41 goals in six games.
Ferndale’s Bella Stephens and South Fork’s Lyndsee Brewer have also impressed with the level of their play this spring playing so many games against bigger programs.
The H-DNL season continues on Saturday, with three more rounds of games remaining.