By Ray Hamill — Two weeks into the Big 5 soccer schedule, the race for the boys championship appears to be more of the same this year, while the race for the girls title looks wide open.
As expected, the Fortuna boys continue to lead the way with three wins in three games so far and are the frontrunners once again despite having a target on their backs every time they take the field.
It’s been a phenomenal run for the seven-time defending champions, who continue to refuel every year with no signs of slowing down.
The team that appears best equipped to stop them this year is Arcata, which pushed the Huskies all the way in their showdown last week, but ultimately gave up three unanswered goals to fall 3-2.
The two teams will meet twice more in the coming weeks, and if the Tigers can play with the same energy and belief as they showed early in that game, then Fortuna’s remarkable eight-year unbeaten run in league play could finally come to an end.
Until them, however, the Huskies will continue to be considered the conference favorites.
The race for the girls championship, on the other hand, appears to be about as exciting as any we’ve seen in years, with no clear frontrunner.
After three games, the surprising McKinleyville Panthers are setting the early pace along with Arcata, with both clubs now 2-0-1 in conference heading into their big clash at Arcata on Wednesday evening.
The high-flying Panthers have been scoring goals for fun, averaging almost seven a game in seven total games this season.
Check out video highlights above of Soffia Reyes scoring McKinleyville’s third goal in a victory over Fortuna on Saturday.
They opened league play with a hard-fought 1-1 tie with Eureka and have since shut out both Del Norte (9-0) and Fortuna (3-0).
The Tigers have been equally impressive, and came within seconds of being 3-0 right now after Eureka sneaked a 1-1 tie against them with a late goal last week.
The Arcata girls have also beaten Fortuna (2-1) and Del Norte (2-0).
The Eureka girls are also unbeaten and right in the mix in the Big 5 with a record of 1-0-2, having tied both McKinleyville and Arcata.
In addition to Wednesday’s boys and girls games at Arcata (both at 5 p.m.), Fortuna will also host Eureka in boys (5 p.m.) and girls (7 p.m.) action.