Loggers continue to roll, advance to second straight NCS decider

By Ray Hamill — The Eureka Loggers remain on course for a second straight North Coast Section championship in girls soccer after beating McKinleyville 3-0 in Wednesday night’s semifinal at Albee Stadium.

The Eureka girls remained unbeaten on the season with the victory and took care of business with a composed performance from the entire team.

They scored twice in the opening half, including a wonderful strike from the edge of the box from senior Saedra Joseph just before halftime, and added a third goal midway through the second half.

Check out Eureka’s first-half goals above …

“I thought we played really well tonight,” head coach Tommy Learmouth said. “McKinleyville’s tough to play against, they play a defensive style, and I thought we handled it well, and I thought we pressed well and we were rewarded with some goals.”

Lila Ekholdt broke the deadlock midway through the first half, with the industrious Kira Morris assisting on both first-half goals.

Angelina Conant netted the third goal as she continues to play a pivotal role in midfield for this team.

“Angelina was absolutely phenomenal in the middle of the field,” Learmouth said.

Lorena Hernandes assisted on the third goal.

Once again, the ever-reliable Maia Hales and Paige Rodgers were outstanding in defense, with Ekholdt and Morris looking dangerous in possession throughout.

Ella Tollefson also continued to impress.

Photos by Ray Hamill/ – Action from Wednesday’s game at Eureka High.

“She was the most creative player on the field,” the head coach said of the junior playmaker. “And her movement off the ball was incredible to watch.”

The loss ends the season for the Panthers, who finished strong and had won three straight games coming into Wednesday’s big showdown.

The Mack players picked up their game in the second half and frustrated the Loggers throughout.

“I thought we played really well,” head coach Adam Canepa said. “We played with a lot more intensity in the second half, and we played with a lot more heart, and I was proud of the girls, they played hard.”

Junior goalie Caitlyn Canepa capped a big season between the posts with another strong performance and was instrumental in keeping the score close.

Sophomore Mary Ann Som also impressed and has develop into a key player on this team, while seniors Taya Gomes, Thea Trout and Soffia Reyes all closed out their high school careers with strong performances.

“I would say it was a successful season,” said Adam Canepa, whose team placed third in the Big 4. “It would have been nice to go to the final, but I think we had a very good season. We learned a lot.”

The Loggers will now turn their attention to Saturday’s championship game against their biggest rivals, Arcata.

“The team’s really excited,” Learmouth said. “We’re ready to go on Saturday.”

The decider will be held at Albee Stadium, with kickoff set for 7 p.m.

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