Khattab nets twice as Tigers edge the Panthers in the Big 4

Photos by Ray Hamill/ – Some of the McKinleyville and Arcata players watch Sionna Khattab’s first goal go in on Thursday.

By Ray Hamill — Arcata junior Sionna Khattab is making a habit of coming up clutch for the Tigers.

The standout defender scored the winning goal for the second time in four games on Thursday, as the Tigers defeated McKinleyville 2-1 in girls soccer at Arcata High.

Khattab, who also netted the winning goal in a 1-0 win over Del Norte in Crescent City two weeks ago, scored both of her team’s goals on Thursday, including the winner just a few minutes from time.

In other local girls soccer games on Thursday, the Ferndale Wildcats beat South Fork 2-0 for their second straight league victory, while St. Bernard’s got the better of Del Norte 2-1 at Crusader Field.

The Fortuna and Eureka game, which was originally scheduled for Thursday, will instead be played at Eureka on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. because of homecoming festivities at Fortuna this week.

Arcata and McKinleyville held each other scoreless for the opening half, before the Tigers got the breakthrough goal against the run of play 12 minutes into the second half when Khattab was quickest to react off a corner kick.

To their credit, the McKinleyville players responded with a goal of their own 12 minutes later, when Leah Circe barely got the ball over the line from a corner kick.

The officials deliberated for a couple of minutes before awarding the goal.

The home team, however, had the final say, when Khattab netted a second goal from the penalty spot after a hand ball.

Khattab also helped anchor an impressive Arcata defense, which has allowed just three goals in the past four games.

With the win, the Tigers improved to 1-1 in the Big 4 and 4-1 overall.

The Panthers remain winless in two Big 4 games but are showing plenty of improvement.

“I thought we out-played them the whole game, it’s just unfortunately we lost,” head coach Brady Burtchett said. “Our defense played great. We never allowed any quality shots.”

Lacie Rink, Kelsey Kates and Leslie Herrera all helped anchor the Mack defense, which gave up just one cornerkick all game.

“We’re getting better,” the coach said. “We’re playing more as a team.”

Next up, on Tuesday, McKinleyville hosts Fortuna and Arcata hosts Eureka.

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