By Ray Hamill — Get ready for a big day of North Coast Section girls soccer here in Humboldt County.
Two all-local finals will take place in Eureka on Wednesday, guaranteeing the league a pair of champions for the third consecutive postseason.
The Division-3 final sees No. 2 seed St. Bernard’s host No. 4 Ferndale at Crusader Field at 2:30 p.m., with the Division-1 final taking place between Eureka and Fortuna at Albee Stadium later in the day at 7 p.m.
Well, if recent form is any indication, the Loggers will be favorites in the D-1 decider, while the D-3 final could go either way.
The Crusaders edged the Wildcats for the Little 4 championship on the final day of the regular season, but there was little to separate the two schools for much of the season.
The NCS final will be the fourth showdown between the Crusaders and Wildcats, with two of the previous games ending deadlocked and SB winning the other 2-0.
The first league meeting between them at Ferndale resulted in a 2-2 tie, with St. Bernard’s winning the rematch at Crusader Field.
They also faced off in an exciting regular-season finale in Ferndale, which saw the visitors battle back from a deficit twice to claim a league-clinching 2-2 tie.
The two teams also met in an exciting NCS semifinal at Crusader Field two years ago, which St. Bernard’s won on the way to the NCS crown.
The Crusaders, who have won a league-best five NCS crowns, will be playing for a fourth consecutive section championship.
However, they will be playing without two of their best players, with dual-sport standouts Madelyn Shanahan and Sahara Tupua out of town with the school’s volleyball team, which will be playing a NorCal playoff game in Sacramento later in the day.
The Loggers and Huskies, meanwhile, will also be playing each other for the fourth time this season, with the No. 1 seeded Eureka girls dominating the previous three games.
Those games, however, won’t count for much when they meet again on Wednesday and the Fortuna girls won’t back down from the challenge.
Interestingly, both schools have enjoyed NCS success in recent years.
The Huskies became the first Big 5 school to win a section championship in the sport in 2017, while the Loggers have won three of the past four titles and are looking for their third straight.
It should be a fun day and two H-DNL schools are guaranteed to be celebrating a championship by Wednesday night.