The South Fork boys' soccer team opened its season with a 0-0 tie at McKinleyville and a 1-0 win at Point Arena last week. With a strong group of returners from last year's squad that reached the North Coast Section semi-finals the Cubs look to be well positioned for another post-season run.
New head coach and last year's assistant Justin Gyenis, also the school's Spanish and PE teacher, was very pleased with the effort from the entire team against McKinleyville. Senior sweeper Jesus Lopez anchored the defense and senior Elijah Ahola did an outstanding job at goalkeeper to hold the Panthers scoreless.
Gyenis put junior Eli Kahan on Mack's biggest scoring threat and Kahan was very effective at neutralizing that aspect of Mack's attack. Senior Dustyn Salomon and junior Robbie Andersen created several first half scoring opportunities on breakaways, helping to take the pressure of the Cub defense.
"We had no big errors in the game," said Gyenis. "We spent most of the second half absorbing pressure, just hanging on." The Cubs' ability to play under that kind of pressure will be honed throughout a season of playing against big schools in the Humboldt del Norte Conference since neither Ferndale nor St. Bernard's has a boys' soccer team.
On Saturday the Cubs traveled to Point Arena and won 1-0. "The playing surface was horrible, one of the bumpiest fields I've ever seen," said Gyenis. "It took us a half hour to settle down and adjust and start moving the ball around the way we've been working on.
With the score 0-0 at the half Gyenis was very pleasantly surprised by the impact of senior Cristian Alatorre who entered the game as a forward in the second half. Alatorre has not played organized soccer since the 7th grade, but scored the game's only goal with a low volley off a cross from junior defender Eli Kahan from the left wing.
Gyenis also had praise for sophomore Connor Messenger who was a big factor in settling the ball and keeping possession for the Cubs. Senior Michael Harrison was strong on defense at sweeper and Ahola and Lopez shared goalkeeping duties, with another clean sheet in the books on the young season.
This week the Cubs will travel to Eureka Wednesday afternoon for a 5 p.m. kick-off at Albee field. Eureka is coming off a 5-1 loss to Arcata on August 31st.
PHOTO COURTESY OF HEATHER SALOMON
Junior Robbie Anderson #5 playing offense in the air. Also pictured is senior Dustyn Salomon #15.