The McKinleyville Panthers gave the league-leading Arcata girls all they could handle on Saturday afternoon in an exciting showdown that the Tigers won 2-1.
The teams were tied 0-0 at the interval, before the Tigers took a 2-0 second-half lead on goals by Alia Prentiss and Kyla Berman.
But with their backs to the wall, the Mack girls responded with one of their more impressive halves of the season, with Thea Trout scoring off a Soffia Reyes assist 15 minutes from time to make for an exciting finish.
“We played them tough,” McKinleyville head coach Adam Canepa said. “My team played really well and I’m really proud of them.”
McKinleyville goalkeeper Caitlyn Canepa made a big save on a penalty kick late in the game to give her team some added momentum and energy, and the Panthers had opportunities to tie the game late.
“She was able to recover from a mental mistake, after she let one in that she should have saved,” the coach said of Caitlyn. “But she was able to recover and she played a great game.”
In the end, however, it was the Tigers who held on for another win as they inch closer to a first league crown since 2016.
Tildy Macdonald continued her impressive season and had an assist in the win, while goalie Seri Welsh remained red-hot between the posts and had nine saves.
“McKinleyville put up a heck of a fight,” Arcata head coach Patrick Stranahan said. “It was an exciting game for everyone who attended.”
With the win, the Tigers remain undefeated on the season.
They are 7-0-1 in league play and 9-0-1 overall.
The Panthers are 3-3-2 and 8-3-2.
Eureka 1, Fortuna 0
The ever-dangerous Lila Ekholdt scored the only goal of the game as the Eureka Loggers won on Saturday to keep pressure on league leaders Arcata.
Ekholdt scored on a 25-yard shot that head coach Tommy Learmouth described as a “really nice strike.”
With the victory, the Eureka girls improved to 5-1-2 in the Big 5.
In addition to the impressive Ekholdt, Maia Hales continued her outstanding season with another strong showing in the heart of defense, while midfielders Angelina Conant and Jordan Brown and goalkeeper Claire Maples all had big games.
“They all played extremely well for us tonight and gave us really good performances,” head coach Tommy Learmouth said.
According to the coach, the Loggers had 20 to 25 shots on goal, with most of their shots hit directly at the keeper.
Kelsie Hall had a good game between the posts for the Huskies in the face of the onslaught, as did defensive anchor Malia Bolden.
“We had some opportunities, but couldn’t capitalize,” Fortuna head coach Bekah Brooks said.
Up front for the Huskies, Taylor Brooks continued to impress, as did teammate Kaydence Ferguson as the team’s holding midfielder.
South Fork 1, Del Norte 0
Senior Lyndsee Brewer posted her second shutout of the season in goal for South Fork, as the Cubs defeated Del Norte 1-0.
Brewer has been one of the most consistent and reliable goalkeepers in the H-DNL the past few years and had six saves on the day.
Caidence Young scored the only goal of the game, heading home on a Summer Contreras corner kick about 30 minutes in.
Olivia Perkins had a big day in defense for the Cubs.
“Del Norte played with a lot of energy and had their chances,” South Fork head coach Ann Constantino said. “But thanks to great defense by Olivia Perkins and a perfect game in goal from Lyndsee Brewer we were able to hang on and win.”
With the victory, the Cubs improved to 2-7-1 overall and remain 1-3-1 against small schools.
Del Norte coach Cyndi Hansen said she was proud of the way her girls played on both offense and defense, as a young Warriors team continues to grow.
“We got a lot of shots on goal, they just didn’t fall,” she said. “We are still working hard and building.”