After pushing Arcata all the way in their H-DNL opener on Tuesday, the St. Bernard’s girls shut out McKinleyville in soccer at Crusader Field on Thursday afternoon.
The Crusaders scored a goal in each half and held on for a 2-0 victory.
In other games on Thursday, the Arcata Tigers won 1-0 at Del Norte, improving to 2-0 in H-DNL action, while the Eureka Loggers continue their impressive start with a second straight shutout, winning 9-0 at Ferndale.
It was a good overall team performance by the Fortuna girls, who appear poised to challenge for a Big 4 championship this fall.
“Our passing was crisp tonight and we had good combination between everyone,” first-year head coach Arnulfo Aguirre said.
At Crusader Field, Sahara Tupua opened the scoring for St. Bernard’s with six minutes remaining in the first half and the home team carried a one-goal advantage into the break.
It was a well-deserved lead as the SB girls enjoyed the majority of possession in the opening half.
They wasted little time adding to their lead, when Amaiyah Her tapped home from close range less than two minutes into the second half.
Sweeper Laila Florvilus had a big game in defense, clearing several McKinleyville attacks, while midfielders Amber Smith, Alyssa Boham and Arabella Maki continued to set the tone.
“They did a tremendous job controlling the game and keeping the pressure on the McKinleyville defense,” St. Bernard’s head coach Brian Finck said of his midfield.
The Panthers grew into the game but were unable to find the back of the net.
“We started a little slow, but I thought we outplayed them in the second half,” McKinleyville head coach Brady Burtchett said. “It was a good physical game. I thought we fought pretty well.”
The ever-consistent Liz Mengel also had a big game in midfield for Mack, alongside the equally impressive Grace Pimentel, and both players did a good job challenging the SB midfield.
Next up, on Tuesday, St. Bernard’s hosts Eureka and McKinleyville travels to Ferndale.
Arcata 1, Del Norte 0
The Tigers won for the second time in three days, edging the Warriors in Crescent City.
Sionna Khattab scored the only goal of the game on a well-placed free kick into the top corner of the goal.
It took a good effort from Khattab to beat Del Norte goalkeeper Avery Ritter, who was outstanding between the posts and kept the Warriors in the game.
Ritter was credited with at least 13 saves.
The game was played in front of a large home crowd, as the young Warriors continue to build their program.
“I am really proud of all my girls,” Del Norte head coach Cyndi Hansen said. “We had the most fans I think we’ve ever had at a home game and I believe that gave the girls a boost in confidence.
“Overall it was a great game.”
Both coaches had nothing but praise for the opposing teams.
“We wish the best of luck to Arcata for the season,” Hansen said.
Stranahan described the Del Norte team as “much improved.”