The Big 4 teams continued to build momentum ahead of conference play on Wednesday night, with comfortable wins for Eureka, Arcata and McKinleyville.
This year’s conference format has the Big 4 and Little 4 teams playing crossover games for the first two weeks and it has resulted in mostly lopsided games.
But things will change next week when teams in both the Big 4 and Little 4 begin playing each other and the games will be far more competitive for both.
Returning league MVP Lila Ekholdt scored four goals for Eureka and appears to be finding her form ahead of the bigger challenges ahead.
Likewise with teammate Saedra Joseph, who netted twice on Wednesday and has been one of her team’s most consistent offensive threats through the early season.
Maia Hales, Grace Nelson and Ella Tollefson each also scored in the win.
“We played well,” Eureka head coach Tommy Learmouth said. “St. Bernard’s brought a lot of pressure and energy, which was nice to see, but I thought we played well. We stayed disciplined.”
One of the most impressive aspects of the Loggers’ early-season performances has been the team leaders’ willingness to “set their teammates up for success,” according to the coach.
Lorena Hernandes also had a big game on Wednesday and was “outstanding” in midfield, Learmouth said, while they ever-consistent Hales and Paige Rodgers both continued to play a key role anchoring the team defense.
The Arcata girls, meanwhile, also have looked very strong in the early season and the 2021 league champs look well up to the challenge of defending their title.
Kyla Berman has been on fire up front for the Tigers and scored three more goals on Wednesday, while playmaking teammate Zoe Macknicki added two goals and Alia Prentiss one.
Soffia Reyes, meanwhile, continues to lead the way for McKinleyville.
The senior standout scored three times against South Fork, while teammate Leah Circe netted twice, all five of those goals coming in the first half.
“We played really well,” head coach Adam Canepa said. “We worked on specific aspects of the game we needed to improve on.
“I was able to get everybody in the game, which felt good.”
Taya Gomes and Mary Ann Som both scored second-half goals for the Panthers, as did senior defender Kennedy Minton, who netted for the first time in her high school career.
Summer Contreras scored South Fork’s only goal off a “beautiful assist” from teammate Caidence Young, according to head coach Ann Constantino.
The scoring sequence was begun by freshman Gage Bates, who has been showing a lot of improvement for the Cubs, along with fellow freshman Kara Worswick.
“Both of those freshmen are really coming along and showing great improvement,” the coach said. “With both of them, you can watch them learning as they go and it’s exciting and it’s contagious.”
Another freshman, Aurora Galaz, also had a good game in goal for a young Cubs team that features eight first-year players.
“She’s just looking better and better every game,” Constantino said.