By Ray Hamill — The H-DNL served up another surprise in boys soccer on Wednesday night, as the Panthers handed league favorite Fortuna a 1-0 loss at McKinleyville.
The win was McKinleyville’s first over the Huskies in over a decade, and it was the first defeat for Fortuna in eight games against H-DNL teams this year.
“Hats off to McKinleyville, they played with a ton of heart,” Fortuna head coach Daniel Holmes said.
Also in action on Wednesday, the Arcata and Eureka boys served up another thriller in a 3-3 tie at Arcata, while South Fork defeated St. Bernard’s 4-0.
The Panthers’ big win, however, was the story of the day and their first league victory.
“It definitely feels good to finally get over that hump and perform closer to our expectations,” said McKinleyville head coach Ryne Deppe, who believes the last time the Panthers beat the Huskies was around 2007.
The in-form Flynn Creighton scored the only goal of the game off a Rylee Collart assist with just 10 minutes remaining, and the Mack defense held a dangerous Fortuna attack in check all day.
“Overall, it was a great team effort.”
The win lifts the Panthers to 1-2 in league and 4-4 on the season, while the Huskies dropped to 2-1 and 9-2-1 overall.
At Arcata, meanwhile, the Loggers scored a pair of first-half goals to take a 2-0 lead into halftime.
The Tigers responded with an early second-half goal to get back into the game, but just five minutes later the determined visitors would add to their lead again.
Junior Izaiah Grosveld was instrumental for the home team and was involved in all three goals as he made a return from injury.
Grosveld scored twice and unselfishly assisted on the tying goal, which was scored by impressive sophomore Cruz Aguilar Miner 15 minutes from time.
“He’s by far the best player in league and with him we’re very, very dangerous,” Arcata head coach John Davidson said of Grosveld, who had missed the previous two games, including the loss at South Fork. “He really has the ability to bring other players into the game. That assist was a perfect example. Nine out of 10 players in league would have shot.”
The hard-working Aguilar Milner also impressed his coach with a clutch finish.
“I think that was one of his strongest performances,” Davidson said. “He’s been very consistent.”
Daniel Hernandez also had an assist for Arcata.
Joe Morris and Sergio Calderon scored the first-half goals for Eureka, with assists from Trenton Gerber and Tomas Paoli.
The visitors, however, would allow the Tigers back into the game after that, and they did so despite playing with an additional player after a red card for Arcata.
“We lost our discipline after Arcata got a red card and we felt we had the win,” Eureka head coach Eddie Garcia said. “And we reacted too late as Arcata got a goal and momentum and were able to fight their way back into a tie.
“Overall, it was a really good first half, we just have to learn to preserve the lead.”
Arcata is now 1-1-1 in league, while Eureka is 1-0-1.
Next up, on Saturday, South Fork plays at Eureka, Arcata plays at Del Norte and McKinleyville plays St. Bernard’s.
Fortuna has a bye in league play this weekend.