By Ray Hamill — Local high school and college soccer takes center stage this week in our athletes and team of the week.
Indeed, it’s been an impressive start to the season for a number of local soccer players and teams.
Most notably, the Fortuna Huskies are off to a flying start this year and appear well poised to challenge for a pair of league titles.
The Fortuna boys officially kicked off league play with a 1-0 victory over Del Norte this week, while improving to 10-1-1 on the season.
The Huskies are unbeaten in seven games against H-DNL teams and have outscored those teams by a combined 22-2 while posting five shutouts.
The Fortuna girls have arguably been even more impressive on their way to a 7-0 record, which also includes five shutouts.
Our Athletes of the Week, meanwhile, go to a pair of college players, each off whom came ready to play this fall.
Prentiss graduated Arcata High early this year and has taken her talents to the local community college program, where she has had an immediate impact.
Emilia Long has been equally impressive for the Cal Poly Humboldt women and leads the California Collegiate Athletic Association in scoring with five goals.
Four of those goals came in a recent 4-3 win at Seattle Pacific, which was the Lumberjacks’ first-ever victory over the Falcons.
Long and the Jacks are still unbeaten on the season with a record of 4-0-1 and are ranked No. 24 in the nation.
ATHLETES OF THE WEEK
Redwoods Soccer, Freshman
Prentiss enjoyed an outstanding career at Arcata High, including helping the Tigers to a league championship as a sophomore in 2021.
And she has carried that form over to CR, where she is leading the Corsairs attack as they continue to build toward conference play, which gets under way later this month.
The impressive Prentiss also plays for Sequoia FC.
For more on her big week, see Career day for Prentiss as CR women get big road win …
Cal Poly Humboldt Soccer, Junior
Long not only scored all four goals in the Jacks’ recent win at Seattle Pacific, but she displayed her clutch side by netting the winning goal in the dying seconds.
The Washington native added a fifth goal in a 3-0 win over Fresno Pacific on Thursday and has been the most prolific striker in the CCAA so far this season.
For more on Long and the Jacks, see Cal Poly Humboldt women break into the top 25 …
TEAM OF THE WEEK
The Fortuna boys and girls teams have a combined record of 17-1-1 through the early season and both look like legitimate league contenders.
The boys enjoyed a decade of league dominance up until last year, when the Arcata Tigers took home the pennant.
But the Huskies haven’t stayed down long under the guidance of longtime Daniel Holmes and they appear to be the team to beat in the H-DNL once again this fall.
The Fortuna girls, meanwhile, won their first-ever league title in 2019 and are off to another flying start this year.
First-year head coach Arnulfo Aguirre and his players are undefeated through their opening seven games and appear ready to challenge powerhouse programs Eureka and Arcata for the Big 4 crown.