H-DNL teams to face off at McKinleyville tournament

Photos by Ray Hamill/ – Action from a scrimmage between Arcata and Eureka at the new Arcata High field on Tuesday.

By Ray Hamill — Local soccer fans will have the opportunity to check out the top teams in the H-DNL in action this weekend at the McKinleyville boys tournament.

The tourney features seven teams and will be played at Mack High over two days, kicking off on Friday afternoon.

In addition to the host school, the Arcata Tigers, Eureka Loggers and Fortuna Huskies will be on hand, along with Calistoga, Upper Lake and Willits.

And, according to McKinleyville head coach Ryne Deppe, two teams in particular are expected to lead the way.

“I think Arcata is the team to beat,” he said. “And Calistoga always has a good team.”

The Tigers, who finished second to Fortuna in league play last season, have returning league MVP Ethan Gyenis to lead their attack and he has impressed in the early season, along with his teammates.

Last week, the Arcata boys defeated Fortuna 4-1 to end the Huskies’ seven-year unbeaten run against H-DNL teams.

And if that’s any indication, they will be the favorites when league play rolls around.

The host Panthers, meanwhile, feature a very young team once again this fall, but they are making progress and have a high soccer IQ.

“We have a lot of talent and a lot of knowledge,” Deppe said. “We’re still incredibly young. Three-quarters of our team are underclassmen, but I love our knowledge of the game, I love our passing. We just still need to get experience under our belts.”

Seniors Angel Gonzalez and Gino Dolson-Gonzalez and sophomore Rylee Collart are all expected to play a big role as team captains.

All of the visiting teams will play three games each at the tournament, with the action getting under way at 2 p.m. on Friday when Eureka plays Upper Lake.

The opening day will also feature two games at 3:30 p.m. and two more at 6.

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