The defending H-DNL champs got the new league campaign off to a winning start on Wednesday in one of three games on opening day.
The Arcata Tigers, who broke Fortuna’s decade of dominance in the H-DNL in 2022, defeated St. Bernard’s 9-0 at Arcata High.
Also in action on Wednesday, the Fortuna Huskies defeated Del Norte 1-0 in Fortuna, their second one-goal win over the Warriors this season.
Cruz Aguilar-Miner and Gerdes Lars each finished with a hat trick for the Tigers, who should be among the league contenders this fall despite graduating the majority of their starters from the 2022 championship team.
Henry Lee, Tex Larsen and freshman Andy Aguilar-Miner each also scored in the win.
With several injuries affecting the Tigers early in the season, including one to junior playmaker Izaiah Grosveld, head coach John Davidson used the game to give some of his bench players some valuable time.
Lee was influential in the win and took advantage of his opportunity for some additional playing time.
“He’s always been a really inspiring player for us,” Davidson said of the senior midfielder. “He shows a lot of heart and he’s an important part of our team.”
Eureka 3, McKinleyville 1
The Loggers got their league challenge off to a good start at McKinleyville with goals from Noah Waggar, Joe Morris and Trenton Gerber.
Check out some of the game highlights above …
Waggar opened the scoring on a long range shot, with Luis Rodriguez assisting on the goal.
“It was a hard fought game,” Eureka head coach Eddie Garcia said. “McKinleyville never gave up and made us uncomfortable on a few occasions.”
The Eureka coaches will be hoping to see a better performance and continued improvement when the Loggers take on Arcata next week in a key showdown.
“We have some things to work on still and it wasn’t a perfect showing on our part,” Garcia said. “We missed quite a few opportunities to score, but the team showed the character to win when not playing our best and came away with a deserved victory.”
Rylee Collart scored the only goal of the game for the Panthers and was one of his team’s most dangerous players, consistently creating opportunities up front, along with teammate Flynn Creighton.
Creighton’s dominance in the air also was a big help to the team defensively.
Fortuna 1, Del Norte 0
Josue Alva scored the winning goal for the Huskies, netting the decisive score early in the game.
The Huskies are now unbeaten in six games against H-DNL teams this season, a streak that also includes a 1-1 tie with Arcata last weekend.
“We had a lot of chances for more, but finishing was an issue,” said head coach Daniel Holmes, whose team improved to 10-1-1 overall. “We are still working on things and will be back at it tomorrow.”