Loggers play ‘most complete’ game yet against improving Panthers

File photo – Lila Ekholdt

Two days after a disappointing tie at Arcata, the Eureka Loggers responded with their most complete performance of the season in a 1-0 win at McKinleyville in girls soccer on Thursday.

Lila Ekholdt scored the only goal of the game off an assist from teammate Maia Hales and the Loggers maintained their unbeaten start to the season.

The victory lifts the Eureka girls to 3-0-1 in the Big 4 and 7-0-1 overall.

In other local games on Thursday, the Tigers defense turned in another big performance in a 0-0 tie with Fortuna at Arcata, while in the Little 4 Ferndale defeated Del Norte 2-0 and St. Bernard’s beat South Fork 7-2.

The Eureka girls remain atop the Big 4 standings and quickly got back to winning ways with a great response from the players after blowing a two-goal lead at Arcata.

“We played extremely well,” head coach Tommy Learmouth said. “We dominated possession, we just couldn’t get our shots to fall today. 

“But it was night and day from Arcata. We took our intensity up and finally put together a complete performance. The whole team and coaches were very proud of that performance.”

The improved performance began in the middle of the field with the energetic trio of Ekholdt, Ella Tollefson and Angelina Conant all outstanding once again, as was Grace Nelson, who dropped back from the front line to midfield.

“They were absolutely on fire today, moving the ball, running around, getting stuck in, hitting their passes,” Learmouth said of the four players. 

Kaylee Hill and Gracia Ortiz also played well and had their “best games” of the year, according to the coach. 

File photo

File photo

Learmouth also praised the play of his defense, which paved the way for a seventh shutout in eight games.

“It was a gutsy win,” he said.

And it came against a McKinleyville team that is fast improving itself, and the Panthers matched up more effectively against Eureka than they did in a four-goal loss to them in their league opener two weeks ago.

“We played really good defense,” said head coach Brady Burtchett, who added that “it was kind of a team effort.”

Goalkeeper Caitlyn Canepa had another big game as she continues to set the standard for local goalkeepers and held a potent Eureka attack to just one goal.

The industrious Liz Mengel also had another big game in midfield for the Panthers marking Ekholdt, while sweeper Gabby Watson and stopper Lacie Rink were as usual composed on the ball in defense.

Next up, on Tuesday, the Panthers host Arcata and the Loggers play at Fortuna.

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