H-DNL rivals get set to renew their thrilling rivalry

Ray Hamill/HumboldtSports.com – Eureka’s Jordan Brown, left, and Fiona Smart in action against McKinleyville last week. The Loggers take on the Arcata Tigers on Wednesday night.

By Ray Hamill — The Eureka girls haven’t lost a game of soccer since November 2019, a run that dates back 671 days.

That, however, all might change on Wednesday night, as they and the Arcata Tigers get set to write the latest chapter in their enthralling rivalry.

The Tigers are off to a 2-0 start this season, posting an expected victory over South Fork on opening day and a hard-fought 2-1 victory over defending league champs, Fortuna, on Saturday.

The Loggers, meanwhile, are 1-0-1, having been held to a 1-1 tie at McKinleyville on opening night and following that with a 3-0 win over Del Norte on Saturday.

The high-flying Loggers of this past spring went 8-0 and were clearly the best team in the area, but they were denied a league title when the H-DNL decided not to award one because of the shortened COVID season.

They graduated seven seniors from that squad, and while they have an abundance of young talent growing up before our eyes right now, it will take time for the team to come together and potentially match the heights of last season.

The Tigers, on the other hand, have been everything we expected so far.

Head coach Patrick Stranahan has an experienced lineup with a nice mixture of seniors — led by the Macdonald sisters, Tildy and Annie — and underclassmen.

And that should make for an exciting contest on Wednesday night, with the winner taking an early advantage in the race for the league championship, although the two clubs will meet three times in league play this season instead of the usual twice.

If the Tigers win, it will be their second victory over a league contender in five days and they couldn’t ask for a better start than that.

Either way, you can expect a good game.

The two teams met in a thrilling season finale in the spring, with the Loggers sneaking the victory in the final minutes after a late equalizer by the Tigers.

Interestingly, the Tigers were the last team to beat the Loggers, when they edged them in the North Coast Section semifinal two years ago, in what was another thrilling game between the two schools.

The two teams also met in the 2018 NCS decider, and most of their recent matchups have been highly entertaining games.

Don’t be surprised to see more of the same on Wednesday.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Albee Stadium, with the schools’ boys teams meeting at 5.