By Ray Hamill — Almost halfway through league play, the Little 4 has been competitive so far and that continued to be the case on Saturday with a pair of close games.
At St. Bernard’s, the Crusaders edged South Fork 3-2, while the Ferndale Wildcats and Del Norte Warriors tied 0-0 in Crescent City..
With the win, the SB girls are now 3-1 in league play, with their only loss coming against Ferndale, while the Cats remain unbeaten but have now tied two of their opening four league games.
The Crusaders dominated their matchup for long spells and led for much of the game, although the young Cubs kept battling to the end and made things interesting late after pulling within a goal in the final minutes.
Eliana Sellers gave the home team an early lead just minutes in, but the visitors tied things up midway through the first half when Summer Contreras broke past the Crusaders defense on a pass from Kara Worswick and shot across the goalmouth to make it 1-1.
The game remained deadlocked until the second half, but St. Bernard’s re-took the lead less than a minute into the period when Arabella Maki was first to react to a loose ball in front of goal and found the back of the net.
Amaiyah Her made it 3-1 with 14 minutes remaining in the game, slotting home after receiving a pass from teammate Shaya Robinson.
Contreras cut the deficit to one with just two minutes to go, netting on a close range shot after being set up by Cadence Young, but the home team was able to hold on for a key league win.
“We’re definitely improving,” St. Bernard’s head coach Brian Finck said. “We’re starting to make plays, and we’re making runs and passing better, and we have better communication. The stuff we’ve been working on in practice we’re applying to game situations.”
With the home team enjoying the greater share of possession, the Cubs relied on breakaway threats, and they created some scoring opportunities.
St. Bernard’s Laila Florvilus, however, did a good job anchoring the defense for the Crusaders and cleaning up many of the threats.
“She does a great job back there for us,” Finck said. “She’s a leader back there on the defensive line.”
Her also was instrumental in the win and has quickly settled into the team in her first year playing high school soccer.
“She’s got the heart and desire of a champion,” the head coach said. “She has vastly improved in the short amount of time she’s been playing.”
Check out our second-half highlights from St. Bernard’s below …
Molly Perkins continued to play well in defense for South Fork and also stepped up late in goal after having to replace the injured Aurora Galaz.
However, overall it was a disappointing outing for the Cubs, who dropped to 0-3-1 in league play.
“We were lacking teamwork and lacking being on the front foot,” head coach Ann Constantino said.
The Del Norte girls, meanwhile, are now unbeaten in two straight league games after their tie.
Defensively, Hollyn Wakefield, Haley Moerke, Aurora Mitchell and Kalyn Schaad all stepped up to help keep the shutout.
Del Norte is now 1-2-1 in league play.