The McKinleyville Panthers continue to set the pace in H-DNL girls soccer, stretching their unbeaten start to the season with a 3-0 win over Fortuna on Saturday.
With the first of three rounds of league play almost completed, the McKinleyville girls are 2-0-1 in the Big 5 (6-0-1 overall) and tied atop the conference standings with Arcata, whom they travel to play on Wednesday.
“We’re excited about this season,” said Mack head coach Adam Canepa, whose team has already tied Eureka and beaten Fortuna, two teams they have rarely gotten good results against in recent years. “I think we’re looking really good. I think we can beat anyone. We’ve just got to go into every game playing our best.”
So far so good.
Leah Circe scored the team’s opening goal and the Panthers led 1-0 at the half.
Thea Trout and Soffia Reyes both added to the lead after the interval, off assists from Circe and Kathryn Tinney.
“It was a good performance by the team,” Canepa said. “We played better in the second half all the way around. Our keepers made saves when they had to and our defense didn’t allow any quality opportunities.”
Tinney continued to impress in midfield, while Bria Ferrera and Lacie Rink both had big games in defense.
Likewise with Cora Allen on the wing.
The Huskies were shorthanded, with COVID protocols and injuries taking their toll early in the season.
There were, however, several bright spots despite the loss, most notably the play of junior Kaydence Ferguson, who drew special praise from the McKinleyville coach.
In goal, Kelsie Hall also had an outstanding game, as did outfielders Chloe Cox and the ever-consistent Malia Bolden, who has become a force at the back for the Fortuna girls.
Eureka 8, South Fork 0
After netting a late equalizer in a thrilling showdown against Arcata earlier in the week, the Eureka Loggers carried that momentum into Saturday’s game against South Fork, winning 8-0.
Grace Nelson had a big game for the Loggers and was involved in four of her team’s goals, scoring two and assisting on two.
The ever-consistent Lila Ekholdt, who has been involved in her team’s scoring in all four games so far, continued her impressive start to the campaign with two goals and an assist, while the equally impressive Ella Tollefson had two assists and a goal.
“I thought we played well,” head coach Tommy Learmouth said. “We’re trying to build our momentum and continue to move our process forward, and I think we were able to do that today.”
Lorena Hernandez also had a goal and an assist, with additional goals from Kira Morris and Sol Lyssand, and a pair of assists from Kaitlin Giacone.
Learmouth used the occasion to give all of his players some playing time, with every player seeing substantial minutes, and the team depth was obvious with no noticeable drop off.
“It was nice to see how supportive everyone was of each other.” the coach said.
With the win, the Loggers are now 2-0-2 on the season and remain 1-0-2 in the Big 5.
The Cubs, meanwhile, played with just 10 players for most of the game and showed a lot of heart, according to head coach Ann Constantino.
Consistent senior Lyndsee Brewer had 12 saves in goal, while teammate Macy Yarbrough was strong in defense.
“Eureka plays a beautiful possession game,” Constantino said. “They’re very disciplined and consistent.”
Arcata 2, Del Norte 0
The Tigers remain one of the two frontrunners in the Big 5 after posting a 2-0 win at Del Norte on Saturday, improving to 2-0-1 and keeping pace with McKinleyville.
Just three days after an intense game at Eureka, the Tigers continued to impress and battled to a deserved win.
Zoe Macknicki and Alia Prentiss each scored in the win, with Annie Macdonald getting an assist.
Both goals came in the first half.
“It was a good possession game,” Arcata head coach Patrick Stranahan said. “We had a few opportunities go by the wayside, but that is how the game goes. I was proud of the Lady Tigers.”
Kaylee Jackson and Mary Kate Wong both had good games in defense for a young Warriors team, which is now 0-4 in league play.
“All around as a team we did better,” Del Norte coach Jeff Cook said. “We were happy with their effort today.”
Alissa Roach played in goal after the interval and was instrumental in keeping the visitors at bay for the second half with some big saves under pressure.