The Loggers will get another shot at the Arcata Tigers in the biggest game of the season.
On Wednesday night, the Eureka girls won 3-1 at Roseland Prep in the North Coast Section Division-I girls soccer playoffs, setting up a rematch against their H-DNL rivals in the championship game this weekend.
Once again, it took the Loggers a while to get going, in large part because they were playing on an artificial surface, but when they found their rhythm they ran out to the comfortable win.
“We played really well,” head coach Tommy Learmouth said. “The field conditions were a little tough. We were playing on turf and it was a big surface, and it took us 30 or 40 minutes to get used to how the ball moved.
“But once it linked together for us, the scoring was wide open.”
Angelina Conant broke the deadlock for the visitors early in the second half, before the home team battled back to tie things again at 1-1.
The Loggers, however, retook the lead just a few moments later and would hold the Roseland girls at bay the remainder of the way.
Lila Ekholdt scored what would be the winning goal on a penalty kick, before Ella Tollefson added an insurance goal.
The team offense ran smoothly.
“We were patient and pretty good at moving the ball when we were attacking, and switching it from side to side,” Learmouth said.
The ever-consistent Maia Hales was a rock at the back once again, while Kaitlin Giacone also continued to impress and has become a consistent contributor on the team.
Likewise with Lorena Hernandez, who had another good game, as did the ever-dangerous trio of Ekholdt, Tollefson and Conant.
“It was a team effort,” Learmouth said.
The trip to the NCS championship game will be the third in four seasons for the Loggers, who won the section crown in 2018.
They have faced Arcata three times this season, losing twice and tying once.
The seedings are laughable. The NCS knew that fall soccer after the big shift favored the H-DNL big schools in D-1. So, to make an illusory example, weaker teams get higher seeds to give the false impression of competitiveness on paper, and to be provided illusory home matches.
Not good for the game, but not surprised, as Humboldt schools (H-DNL) take the easy way all too often in exchange at feeling like a winner.
Blame adults, re-educate the athletes on reality that level of play means something much more tangible than being gifted something on a silver platter.