Panthers, Loggers share the spoils in exciting showdown on opening night

Photos by Ray Hamill/

By Ray Hamill — A thick fog did not dampen anyone’s enthusiasm in what was an exciting and enthralling H-DNL girls soccer opener under the lights at Mack High on Wednesday night, as the Panthers tied Eureka, 1-1.

Both defenses played fundamentally sound soccer in what was an evenly matched game, with the Panthers shading the exchanges in the opening half and the Loggers responding with a better second half.

“I thought in the second half we played a lot better,” Eureka head coach Tommy Learmouth said. “And we’re going to build on that going forward.”

Mack head coach Adam Canepa was also pleased with his team’s showing against a team that outscored the Panthers 12-1 in two games in the spring.

“I think we played really well,” Canepa said. “I thought we outplayed them in the first half. We outshot them 4-0. But I think Eureka showed their quality by outplaying us in the second half.”

Both teams had plenty of possession in each half, but both defenses held firm for much of the night, with goalkeepers Clair Maples of Eureka and Caitlyn Canepa of McKinleyville looking comfortable whenever the ball came their way.

The Loggers broke the deadlock with about 15 minutes remaining, when Kira Morris scored off an assist from the ever-dangerous Lila Ekholdt.

The Panthers, however, responded just a few minutes later, when Soffia Reyes sent a brilliant shot through a crowded penalty area to even things up.

Check out the two goals below …

“Credit to McKinleyville, that was a great goal from Soffia,” Learmouth said. “They deserved it.”

Adam Canepa described the goal as an “absolute banger,” as the talented Reyes started this season in the same form she closed out last year.

“I felt we responded to their goal very well,” the McKinleyville coach said.

The Mack back line — Bria Ferreira, Cora Allen, Kennedy Minton and Lacie Rink — had a good night keeping a very talented Loggers attack at bay for most of the game.

“I’m super satisfied with our performance,” Adam Canepa said.

Not to be out-done, the Eureka defense hardly put a foot wrong, with standout season debuts from Payton Goodman, Amelia Stiano and Maia Hales.

Farther up the field, sophomores Ekholdt and Ella Tollefson and junior Jordan Brown all looked dangerous for Eureka just about every time they touched the ball, playing with a composure well beyond their years.

1 reply »

  1. “Share the spoils” is a generous characterization. Eureka was expected to trounce McKinleyville. A tie is nothing short of a victory for McKinleyville.

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