New boys soccer season off to a stunning start

Submitted photo – The Arcata players celebrate their big win on Thursday.

It’s been a long time coming, but the Arcata Tigers officially ended one of the most impressive streaks in local soccer history on Thursday afternoon.

The Tigers kicked off the new season in style with a stunning 4-1 win over the Huskies at Fortuna, ending the home team’s seven-year unbeaten run against H-DNL teams.

The Huskies, who have won the past eight league titles, had not lost to one of their local rivals since dropping a league playoff game to Arcata on Halloween 2015.

Reigning league MVP Ethan Gyenis looked every bit the part while scoring a hat trick in the victory, as the Tigers scored twice in each half.

“Our guys are really hungry and they had a strong mentality,” Arcata head coach John Davidson said. “We’ve got a strong group this year and they play with a lot of passion and courage.”

Miles Kraemer also scored in the win, netting on a wonderful curling shot from outside the box, while Kayin Klonerdanz was creative in offense and assisted on three of his team’s goals.

“We were really able to combine well in the upper third,” Davidson said.

Kaden O’Brian also had an assist in the win, while the return of senior goalkeeper Sean Shermer, who missed all of last season through injury, was a huge boost for the Tigers.

“It’s just really nice to see him back,” Davidson said of Shermer, who is among the best shot stoppers on the North Coast and a key vocal leader on the team. “He’s got a great voice and he made some good saves.”

Hector Diaz scored the only goal for a young Fortuna team that is still trying to find its feet, netting just before half-time to pull his team back within a goal at the break.

“Arcata looked strong,” longtime Fortuna head coach Daniel Holmes said. “Ethan Gyenis up top was a menace for us.

“We had a good first half linking. I think we’ll walk away learning more from a loss. There are some things we definitely need to work on. We’re young.”

The Huskies carried an incredible 63-game unbeaten streak into last season’s North Coast Section championship game and have been one of the H-DNL’s most dominant sports programs for much of the past decade.

These two great rivals will meet twice again in league play later this season.

Next up, both teams will be in action at the McKinleyville tournament, which kicks off on Friday of next week.

The Arcata boys will also play Eureka in a scrimmage on their new field on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.

Categories: Arcata, Fortuna, Soccer

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