Arcata

Eureka girls crowned Big 4 champs with three games still remaining

Photos by Ray Hamill/HumboldtSports.com – Action from Saturday’s game.

By Ray Hamill — The Eureka girls were crowned Big 4 champions in girls soccer on Saturday afternoon, capping a dominating few weeks in league play.

A 6-0 win over the Tigers in Arcata lifts Eureka to 6-0 in the Big 4 and leaves them more than three wins clear in the standings with three games still remaining.

“It’s exciting. The girls are definitely pumped. That was one of the preseason goals we had,” head coach Tommy Learmouth said. “But there are three more games to play and we need to focus on them.”

The league championship is officially the program’s first since 2018, although they went undefeated during the COVID-shortened season in the spring of 2021 when no league pennant was awarded.

Last season, the Tigers edged Eureka for the title, before the Loggers went on to win the North Coast Section championship.

Judging by the way the Eureka girls have dominated in the Big 4 this fall, there’s every reason to believe that the No. 1 ranked girls team in the section will be tough to stop again when the playoffs roll around.

And they appear to be getting better as the season moves along, turning in a stunning performance at Arcata with their biggest win over their rivals in some time.

“I thought we played some of of our best soccer today,” said Learmouth. “It’s one of the nicest fields we’ve played on and I thought that played to our advantage, being able to possess the ball.”

The Loggers took control of the game quickly and decisively and led 4-0 after just 25 minutes.

Saedra Joseph opened the scoring 13 minutes in on a well placed shot across the goalmouth after breaking onto a brilliant through ball from Kaitlin Giacone, and Lorena Hernandes made it 2-0 just three minutes later on a wonderful long range strike.

Joseph would add a second goal and reigning league MVP Lila Ekholdt finished with a hat trick to round out a thoroughly deserving victory.

Check out Lorena Hernandes’ wonderful goal from Saturday’s game above …

There were several standouts for the visitors, including the ever-consistent Ella Tollefson and Angelina Conant, who combined well with Ekholdt once again to control the midfield.

Tollefson and Giacone each had two assists in the win, while Hernandes and Joseph each had one.

The defense also was outstanding once again, with the sure-footed Maia Hales and Paige Rodgers anchoring a unit that posted a ninth shutout in the last 10 games.

In their six league games, the Loggers have outscored their opponents by a combined 30-2.

“All-around it was a good team performance. Our defense set the tone for us along with our goalie (Claire Maples),” Learmouth said. “They did a good job recognizing what was coming their way and dealing with it.”

You get the feeling that the league title is just the beginning for this team.

“They’ve bought into the idea of how we play and they continue to be successful with it,” the coach said.

The league championship is the first for Learmouth as a head coach after being an assistant with the team in 2018.

Categories: Arcata, Eureka, Soccer, Sports

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