Jake Knoeller, Sports Editor
Photos by Fiona Murphy
November 17, 2019
The Arcata High girls soccer team made it as far as they could this season. They finished with a 14-3 record in all competitions and made it through three North Coast Section playoff games. The NCS tournament is four rounds and Arcata had a bye in their first round due to being the third seed, and with only nine girls teams making the playoffs.
They then made it past Credo and Eureka, beating Eureka on a Bailey Cherms sudden death overtime goal. In their final game on November 16th, the NCS championship at home against fourth seeded Middletown, they had full control the entire game and all the chances, but they couldn’t find the back of the net. Middletown seemed to sit back and play a counter attacking style. At halftime, the score was 0-0, and the AHS Tigers were visibly playing well and in control.
But the second half didn’t start as well as the first for the home team. Eight minutes in, a Middletown player received the ball at the top of the box and fired a low driven shot into the bottom right corner. This goal had the visiting players and fans leaping in excitement. But Arcata kept their heads up. Instead of being frustrated, the Arcata fans started clapping and cheering for their players to “get it back” as play resumed.
After the goal came an onslaught of opportunities for the home team. Nothing would go their way. A few big saves by the Middletown keeper and the posts kept Arcata from scoring. They kept working for the tying goal, but eventually, time just ran out. The score finished 1-0 Middletown, and they all celebrated their NCS Championship.
“I think the moment got to us a little bit,” Arcata coach Patrick Stranahan said to a humboldtsports.com reporter.
Center backs Sophia Salinas and Zoe Leonard both mentioned that their successful season was very much based on how good of a coach Stranahan was.
“Patrick was incredibly motivating everyday, and never gave up on us,” said Leonard.
Salinas said “I think we were successful because we worked hard, had good teamwork and team energy, and had a great coach who believed in us and pushed us.’’
This whole team seems to have a great bond and they had an amazing season as a team. They are still young and will look to have another good year in 2020.