Panthers win again as they get set for NCS postseason

Photos by Cherie Fry Circe – McKinleyville’s Taya Gomes scored one of her team’s goals on Wednesday.

The McKinleyville Panthers continued their late-season surge with a second straight win in Big 4 girls soccer on Wednesday.

The Mack girls won 2-1 at Fortuna and leapfrogged the Huskies in the league standings to finish third.

The win was the second straight for the Mack girls, who are peaking at an opportune time despite battling some late-season injuries and sickness.

“We played hard,” said McKinleyville head coach Adam Canepa, who added “all of the players, I know they left everything on the field and gave everything they could.

“I was really proud we were able to hold on.”

The two straight victories will give the Panthers some momentum heading into the playoffs, which kick off next week.

Taya Gomes gave McKinleyville the lead on a long-range free kick in the first half, and the Panthers led 1-0 at the break.

The ever-dangerous Soffia Reyes, who is one of our Athletes of the Week, doubled the lead after the break on what Canepa described as a “really pretty goal.”

Gabby Watson, who had a big game for the visitors in defense, started the move with a nice pass to Thea Trout, who set up Reyes, who beat a couple of defenders before scoring what would be the winning goal.

“it feels good to end the season on a high note,” the head coach said. “Fortuna played really well in the second half.”

Goalkeeper Caitlyn Canepa continued to be a big bight spot for the Panthers and made several key saves to help seal the win.

“She played outstanding,” the head coach said. “She’s been keeping us in a lot of games.”

McKinleyville is ranked No. 5 in the NCS Division-I field, according to MaxPreps.

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