By Ray Hamill — Just days from the start of the new H-DNL boys soccer season, the Fortuna Huskies continue to look like the team to beat.
The seven-time defending league champs improved to 3-0 over the weekend, as three of the top league contenders faced off in a series of preseason games.
The Huskies, who won 3-1 at Gateway last week, defeated Arcata 3-0 and Eureka 3-1 on Saturday, while Arcata and Eureka tied 2-2 on Friday night.
“They were good matches,” said Fortuna head coach Daniel Holmes, who has guided the Huskies to all seven league titles. “There are some things to work on, but it was good for all of us to be out there playing again.”
Big things are expected this season out of senior Antonio Garcinuno and he didn’t disappoint on Saturday, scoring in both games.
RJ Rexford also netted in both wins, while Adam Calvert got on the scoresheet against Eureka.
The Arcata and Eureka showdown was an entertaining battle, with junior Ethan Gyenis scoring both goals for the Tigers, including the tying goal in the final seconds.
“He’s going to kill it this year,” Arcata head coach John Davidson said of Gyenis, who was the team’s leading goal scorer in the spring. “Him and Antonio will score a lot of goals, but I bet he scores more.”
The Tigers did not do so well against Fortuna.
“Today we were a little bit slow,” Davidson said of that game. “And honestly Fortuna is still a couple of steps ahead of us, but we look like we’ve got a few things going on.”
That includes freshman Izaiah Grosveld, who has settled in quickly at the high school level and has impressed early.
So too have seniors Aidan Shelton and Mathias Severn, who are co-captains this year.
The team’s only other senior is goalkeeper Everett Namen, who also got the season off to a flying start between the posts this weekend.
Neman is one of three players Davidson will rely on to fill the shoes of all-league keeper Sean Shermer, who has been sidelined through injury for the season.
“I was very, very impressed with his game,” the head coach said of Neman.
Another freshman also got his high school career off to a big start this weekend for the Loggers, with Will Mooney scoring one his team’s goals against Arcata.
“We’ve lost four starters, but the freshmen and some of the younger players from last year have been stepping up,” Eureka head coach Eddie Garcia said.
One player big things are expected out of for the Loggers this fall is senior Vic Vang, who has switched to midfield and has been living up to those lofty expectations early in the new campaign.
Senior center back and midfielder David Parra is also expected to play a big role, and he gave the Loggers an early advantage against the Huskies from the penalty spot.
Luis Romero scored the second goal against Arcata off a corner kick.
“I think we were definitely the better team out there,” Garcia said of the Arcata matchup. “We deserved a little more, but our mistakes cost us in that game.
“It hurt, but it was a learning experience.”
Another senior, Ty Bauer, also has impressed early and will be looked to for some valuable leadership in midfield.
“They’re coming together really fast,” the head coach said of his players. “They have high expectations this year.”
On Wednesday, the Tigers open league play at South Fork, while Fortuna hosts Del Norte and Eureka travels to McKinleyville.