Del Norte

LITTLE 4 SOCCER — League leaders remain unbeaten, get set for big showdown

Submitted photo – The Crusaders beat the Warriors 1-0 in muddy conditions in Crescent City on Tuesday.

Get ready for a huge Little 4 showdown on Thursday.

St. Bernard’s and Ferndale both won their league games on Tuesday to set up a mouthwatering top-of-the-standings clash at Crusader Field on Thursday afternoon.

Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. and the winner — if there is one — will take over sole possession of the league lead as we head into the stretch run.

Both schools took care of business on Tuesday to remain unbeaten in league play with identical 4-0-1 records.

The Wildcats won 5-1 at South Fork, while the Crusaders traveled to Crescent City and came away with a 1-0 victory over Del Norte.

The Cats, who are now unbeaten in five straight games, appear to growing in stature as the season progresses.

“I think collectively as a whole this was probably the best performance the girls have had,” Ferndale head coach Bailey Davy said. “It was really a solid performance by the entire team. They all stood out today.”

It was a breakout performance in more ways than that, and after scoring two goals in each of four straight games the Wildcats offense exploded for five against the Cubs, which was their biggest tally of the season.

Jayden Murphy opened the scoring for the Cats off an assist from teammate Regan Russ, before Madison Gossi made it 2-0 off an assist from Gianna Regli.

Russ, who has been hugely influential for the Wildcats all season, made it a three-goal advantage before halftime after scoring on a free kick.

Reaghan Langer would add two more goals for Ferndale after the interval, including one from the penalty spot.

Freshman Genesis Medrano scored the only game of the game for the Cubs, with sophomore teammate Gage Bates assisting on the score with a perfectly placed square pass.

Defensively, a young Cubs team continues to battle, with Aubrey Young and Molly Perkins helping to anchor the defense.

“They continue to improve at their pressure-packed jobs in the back,” South Fork head coach Ann Constantino said of the hard-working duo.

Despite remaining winless in league play, a young Cubs team is showing a lot of fight.

“It’s not easy to keep your head up during a tough season,” Constantino said. “But this group has impressed me regularly with perseverance and perspective.”

Goalkeepers Hannah Savio and Kenzie Brewer split time between the posts for South Fork and both impressed while under pressure, making six and five saves, respectively.

Up in Crescent City, meanwhile wet conditions didn’t slow down the Crusaders, who also are now undefeated in five league games.

Reigning co-MVP of the league Madelyn Shanahan scored the only goal of the game in the first half, with the very impressive Laila Florvilus assisting on the score.

Florvilus anchored the SB defense with a performance that both head coaches praised.

“Laila held together a strong defensive line, letting the Warriors see little offensive action,” St. Bernard’s head coach Brian Finck said of the talented junior.

The ever-dangerous Sahara Tupua also continued to play well for the visitors, as she has been all season.

“Sahara was a consistent threat for their defense today, always in position to score, winning ball after ball,” Finck added. 

Both goalkeepers — St. Bernard’s Emma Mowrey and Del Norte’s Deja Payne — played well in slippery and challenging conditions.

Payne returned to the Warriors lineup and made around 10 saves in each half, according to her head coach Cyndi Hansen. 

“It was a really intense game,” Hansen said. “Both teams were fighting to win.”

With Payne back in the lineup, Hailey Moerke switched from goalkeeper and had an immediate impact in the outfield, playing well in defense and midfield.

Senior Lily Sherman also had a good game for the home team in her first year playing high school soccer and she broke free on a couple of occasions to cause the St. Bernard’s defense problems.

Every time she did, however, Florvilus was there to end the threat.

Defenders Channey Schaad and Aurora Mitchell both also played well for the Warriors and helped anchor the back line.

Next up, on Thursday, the Warriors travel to South Fork.

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