SOCCER ROUNDUP — Defenses set the tone as Big 4, Little 4 kick off

Submitted photo – South Fork’s Summer Contreras, right and St. Bernard’s Kaylee Hill in action during Wednesday’s game.

By Ray Hamill — Defending league champs Arcata got the Big 4 off to a winning start on Wednesday, on a busy night for the H-DNL.

The Tigers hosted Fortuna and won 4-0, while the Eureka Loggers also got the new campaign off to a successful start with a 5-0 win at McKinleyville.

In the Little 4, St. Bernard’s and South Fork served up the most entertaining game of the day, with the Crusaders winning 5-3.

“I thought we played really well,” SB head coach Brian Finck said. “We played as a team. We’re getting better.”

Junior Madelyn Shanahan scored twice in the win, once in each half, as the St. Bernard’s girls ran out to a 4-1 halftime lead.

South Fork senior Summer Contreras scored all three goals for the home team as the Cubs battled back in the second half to make a game of it, but the Crusaders held on for the win, with Shanahan netting a second-half insurance goal.

Shaya Robinson, Adriana Granados and Sahara Tupau each also scored in the win.

Granados has been playing a key role for the team in midfield, along with fellow captain Bella Macki, and both continued to impress in the Little 4 opener.

Caidence Young and Jalynn Worswick each had an assist for South Fork, while freshman goalie Aurora Galaz continued to play well between the posts and made seven saves.

“She had a couple of world-class tip saves,” head coach Ann Constantino said. “Incredible reaction for a freshman.”

Kara Worswick and Cloe McConnell each also played well in the center of the field, while a very young defense continued to show improvement and adapted well as the game went on.

Photo by Cherie Fry Circe – Action from the Eureka and McKinleyville game.

“Most of our defense are freshmen, so it was wonderful to see the adjustment from the first half to the second,” said Constantino, who added “we’re finally learning how to play more physical.”

Ferndale also got the Little 4 off to a winning start, edging Del Norte 2-1 with a late goal.

At McKinleyville, meanwhile, four different players scored for the Loggers as they got the Big 4 off to a winning start.

Grace Nelson netted twice, while Kira Morris, Lorena Hernandes and Ella Tollefson each also scored in the shutout win, but it was the team defense that set the tone as the Loggers were put under pressure for the first time this season.

“Our back line was outstanding all night,” head coach Tommy Learmouth said. 

So too was the midfield trio of Lila Ekholdt, Angelina Connant and Tollefson, who continue to grow together and influence games.

“They’re really dynamic in the middle,” Learmouth said. “They work well together and they move off each other really well. And they really trust each other.”

Photo by Cherie Fry Circe

The Tigers also got the new campaign off to a successful start.

Alia Prentiss had a huge day and scored all four goals in the win, two of them coming on assists from Zoe Macknicki.

Similar to the Loggers, however, the defense set the tone and grew stronger as the game went on after weathering a fast start by the Huskies.

“Our back line was very stingy, only allowing a few chances at our goal,” Arcata head coach Patrick Stranahan said. 

And when they did, goalkeeper Kyndle Eisner was up to the challenge, playing well despite suffering a hand injury while making a save early in the second half.

“It was a good game back and forth, but we were able to capitalize on our opportunities,” Stranahan said.

1 reply »

  1. Hopeful for a league where EHS and AHS are not top two most of the time…but population hubs typically draw more athletes out…

    …does not mean smaller schools can’t develop better athletes and teams with effective off-season athletic programs…

    …personally, would only coach with a commitment by the school and student-athletes for an off-season program… not worth having an off-season program if student-athletes are no-shows.

    Also, schools can do better at aligning the away games for multi-sport athletes, while saving travel costs to re-invest into on-campus facilities…no reason girls volleyball and soccer away games can’t be scheduled versus same schools on same days, so that a school team can be rostered accordingly, and the multi-athlete can participate in both sporting events…

    Cheers to Ann Constantino still out there coaching…

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