The Fortuna Huskies’ decade of dominance in local boys soccer officially came to an end on Thursday when the Arcata Tigers clinched their first outright H-DNL title since 2012.
The Tigers needed just a tie against McKinleyville at Arcata High, but made sure with a 2-0 victory and closed out league play undefeated.
“I think it means a lot to the community and alumni and supporters,” head coach John Davidson said. “And the guys, you’ve got to hand it to them. The pressure’s been on them. They had expectations to perform.
Kayin Kloberdanz gave the home team the lead late in the first half, when he was quickest to react to a loose ball in the box after a long-range Kaden O’Brien shot.
Senior striker Ethan Gyenis added a second-half insurance goal for the league champs, breaking past the Mack defense, dribbling around the goalkeeper and slotting home.
“It was a classic Ethan goal,” Davidson said.
A young McKinleyville team had opportunities to cause the upset but the Panthers were unable to find a way past Arcata goalkeeper Sean Shermer, who made some big saves and was as reliable as ever.
“McKinleyville played hard,” the Arcata head coach said. “They’re a tough opponent and they created chances of their own.”
Midfielder Miles Kraemer also was instrumental for Arcata, as he has been all season long.
The win also guarantees the Arcata boys at least one home game in next week’s North Coast Section playoffs.
Arcata is ranked No. 2 among Division-I teams, according to MaxPreps, behind only Head-Royce.
“We’ll be as competitive as we possibly can be,” the head coach said.
Del Norte 2, Eureka 1
The Warriors continued to impress in Crescent City, winning for the fifth time in six home games this season.
“My boys showed what they are capable of when we play good swift passing game with composure and defend resolutely when need be,” Del Norte head coach David Sanyaolu said.
“I am proud of them for ending the regular season victoriously despite the hiccups mid season.”
With the win, the Warriors closed out league play with a record of 7-4-1.
The loss was the first in league play for the Eureka boys, who closed out 7-1-4 and finished second to Arcata.
It was also senior night for the Warriors, who honored their four seniors — captain Yahir Alanis, Gabe Howard, Eyan Smith and goalkeeper Leandro Aguilar — before the game
According to the coach, they were honored for “their leadership and overall contributions to our program this year and in previous years.”
The two teams will now turn their attention to the North Coast Section playoffs, with the seeds and brackets set to be announced on Sunday.
The Loggers are currently ranked No. 5 among NCS Division-I teams, according to MaxPreps, while Del Norte is No. 8.