By Ray Hamill — You know it’s been a strange year when Eureka senior Keylei Carroll was left off the H-DNL all-league team in girls soccer.
The returning league MVP was an absolute force for the undefeated Loggers this spring and honored as their team MVP.
But with the shortened COVID campaign, the league opted to name just two players from each program to the all-league team, and no MVPs.
And that was unfortunate for a Loggers team that was probably among the strongest ever in the H-DNL, featuring as many as eight players who played at a legitimate all-star level and several who will be competing collegiately in the fall.
If there had been a league MVP named, Carroll would no doubt have been a frontrunner, along with teammates Aquene Tollefson and Klayre Barres, each of whom was included on the all-league team.
“I think Aquene had her best season,” Eureka head coach Tommy Learmouth said. “She played more of a central role this year and she helped set the tempo for us all season.
“She was the most dominant center midfielder in the league this year.”
Barres was just as dominant up front.
“A four-year White Star winner who is always scoring goals,” the head coach said. “She set the tempo for us up front.”
Fortuna’s Sarah Killfoil and Sarah Hohman each also made the all-league team after outstanding senior seasons for both.
Hohman has anchored the Huskies defense for the last few years, while Killfoil has been a key contributor up front.
Both players played a huge role in the team’s historic first-ever league title in 2019 and were instrumental once again this spring as the Huskies went 7-2.
“Sarah Hohman is a dependable, knowledgeable, solid, skilled, defender with integrity, who always has our backs and her head in the game,” Fortuna head coach Jennifer Femenella said. “She knows where to be and when, and is a true team player who exemplifies our family values attitude.”
Hohman will play at College of the Redwoods next year.
“Sarah Killfoil is a reliable, adept, consistent, valuable player who is always ready to help, who keeps a positive attitude and who also possesses that mental toughness and fortitude on the field that we look for in a team member,” Femenella said.
Arcata also had a big season, growing stronger as the year went on and closing out with a record of 7-3.
Goalkeeper Serendipity Welsh and midfielder Tildy Macdonald each were instrumental in the team’s success and each were named all-league.
Macdonald was a force in the center of the field and one of the top players in the H-DNL this season, performing at a consistently high level in every game.
Welsh, meanwhile, was a rock at the back and arguably the top goalie in the H-DNL this spring, making 99 saves in nine games, including a incredible 18 in the season finale against Eureka.
McKinleyville, meanwhile, closed out 6-4 and had both sophomore Soffia Reyes and junior Kathryn Tinney named to the all-league team.
Reyes was the team’s offensive center midfielder, while Tinney played a more defensive role along side her.
“They worked really well together and improved as the season went on,” Mack head coach Adam Canepa said. “They were always there and always reliable, extremely good role models at practice and always leading by example.”
Ferndale fielded a team for the first time since 2018 and enjoyed a solid campaign with a 3-6 record.
Senior Hallie Short and sophomore Bella Stephens were named all-league for the Cats.
Short was one of two seniors on this year’s team and played a pivotal role as team captain.
“She brought a lot of leadership and positivity and always played strong in the center of the field,” head coach Beth Anderson said.
Stephens, meanwhile, was a rock between the posts for the Cats, growing in stature as the season progressed and one of just three goalies named all-league.
South Fork, meanwhile, was 3-7, getting the better of rivals St. Bernard’s twice.
Goalkeeper Lyndsee Brewer and influential midfielder Marian Del Rio each were named to the all-league team.
For Del Norte, Maykala Jackson and Jadence Clifton both were also included on the prestigious team.
“Makayla was the heart and energy of our team,” Del Norte head coach Jeff Cook said. “And Jadence was one of our most athletic and talented soccer players.”
Check out video highlights of a brilliant Brynn Hales goal from this spring
Del Norte closed out the season 2-6.
A young St. Bernard’s team, meanwhile, closed out winless at 0-8, but there were some bright spots, most notably Jessica Rutter and Emma Wilson each of whom was named all-league.
“She played liked a champ,” St. Bernard’s coach Phil Rouse said of Wilson, who played through injury late in the season. “She’s just so tough and committed.”
Rutter was the Crusaders’ main threat up front.
“She delivered the goals this season,” the coach said. “And her soccer IQ kind of set her apart.”
Carroll, meanwhile, stood out among the most impressive honorable mentions, along with a couple of other senior stars.
“Keylei was our team MVP,” Learmouth said of the UC Davis bound midfielder. “She was the vocal leader on the field for us, and she’s going to leave a big hole for us.”
Fellow seniors Brynn Hales, Becca Russ and Liza Crassweller also had big seasons for the Loggers.
“Brynn stepped up this year” the coach said. “She was cool, calm and composed in the middle all season for us.”
The coach added that Cassweller “really made a difference for us,” while Russ “has been our anchor for three years as a center back and this year she really took over vocally. Just a rock all season back there.”
Arcata center back Zoe Leonard was another honorable mention coming off a fantastic career in the heart of defense for the Tigers.
Arcata — Zoe Leonard, Anneli Macdonald and Sophia Salinas
Del Norte — Annyessa Bettega and Alyssa McCovey
Eureka — Keylei Carroll, Anya Collingwood, Liza Crassweller, Lila Ekholdt, Payton Goodman, Brynn Hales, Maia Hales, Claire Maples, Becca Russ and Ella Tollefson
Fortuna — Erica Carrillo-Ceja, Malia Bolden, and Taylor Brooks
McKinleyville — Olivia Rink, Mackenzie Bray, Thea Trout and Taya Gomes
Ferndale — Reaghan Langer
St. Bernard’s — Ema Brenes, Olivia Eads and Bella Maki
South Fork — Summer Contreras and Kalea Juan