The Fortuna girls quickly put the disappointment of Saturday’s loss to Eureka behind them with a 2-0 win at McKinleyville in girls soccer on Tuesday.
Alli Cox scored both goals for the Huskies and combined well with her sister Chloe in midfield to cause the home team problems throughout.
Chloe assisted on the opening goal, with Alli finishing well in the bottom corner to give Fortuna a one-goal lead at the interval.
The Huskies came out fired up for the game and played “with lots of intensity to begin the game,” according to Aguirre.
In addition to a strong first half by the Cox sisters, full back Mariah Bravo also was instrumental in setting the tone and combined well with the midfielders.
“She had some good crosses and some shots while helping the attack,” the coach said of Bravo.
However, a much-improved Panthers team grew stronger as the game went on and began to threaten more late in the first half.
“We didn’t start (the second half) on the right foot and we struggled to control the tempo,” Aguirre said. “And credit to Mack for never giving up. They’ve clearly improved since our preseason encounter and they didn’t let us find our rhythm.”
With a key injury in defense, Mack head coach Brady Burtchett was forced to make some switches.
“It was a close game,” he said. “We had our chances. Their central midfielder (Alli Cox) is pretty good.
“We’re getting better. We’re competing with the better teams in league. We’re definitely not giving up, which is nice to see.”
Outside midfielder Grace Pimentel was particularly dangerous for the Panthers, while goalkeeper Caitlyn Canepa continues to play a key role for her team and has grown into one of the best at her position in the entire H-DNL.
“I think we have one of the best, if not the best keeper in the league,” Burtchett said.
“Brylee Barsanti had another great game fighting for every ball and making sure her teammates were successful,” Aguirre said.
With the win, the Huskies improved to 2-1 in the Big 4 and remain right on Eureka’s heels in the standings.
“It was a hard-fought match and I’m proud of the effort my team put in today,” Aguirre said.
Next up, on Thursday, Fortuna plays at Arcata and McKinleyville hosts Eureka.