With a successful penalty shot by Sarah Killfoil seven minutes before the half, the Fortuna High girls soccer team regained its confidence, enabling a 3-1 victory over visiting Arcata in the second semifinal game of the Humboldt-Del Norte League tournament, Thursday night at Fortuna High School.
The No. 2 seeded Huskies (13-2-1) will face the No. 1 Eureka Loggers (15-0) in the H-DNL championship match on Saturday at 11 a.m., at Albee Stadium. Arcata (9-5-1) will join St. Bernard’s in the wait for the start of the North Coast Section playoffs.
Arcata dominated the majority of the first half of the game, maintaining possession deep in Fortuna’s defensive line. The Huskies had a total of five shots on goal before their penalty on Killfoil in the box late in the first half gave Fortuna a much needed scoring opportunity.
Killfoil swiftly placed her penalty shot in the bottom left corner of Arcata’s goal, putting the first Huskies point up of the game. Fortuna carried the momentum from their late first half goal into and out of halftime as it scored against nine minutes into the second half.
Killfoil broke up Arcata’s defense just before moving to the left of the box and passing it back in for a shot on goal by Nyah Cacren, giving the Huskies a 2-0 lead.
“They’re energy level picked up,” said Fortuna head coach Kevin O’Neal. “We started doing a much better job in the midfield, winning more balls, and really pressuring Arcata.”
Fortuna’s forward, Kallia Yang, dominated the outsides of the field with her speed as she came close to the goal more times than not before finally putting one in the net.
With 20 minutes left in the second half, the Tigers attempted a corner kick but lost their footing after Fortuna quickly booted it out of their box. Yang collected the ball at the other end and sped past Arcata’s last defender, making it a one on one with her and the goalie. Without any hesitation, Yang shot a solid ball into the net giving the Huskies a 3-0 lead.
“It was just super exciting to know that we had a big lead,” Yang said. “It was nerve wracking when Arcata got close.”
However, Arcata wasn’t done fighting. Just a minute after Fortuna’s third goal, Arcata’s Karina Zumbrun found the net after the goalie came out just seconds too soon.
“I’m extremely proud of them.” Arcata head coach Patrick Stranahan said. “These ladies have come together as a really cohesive unit. They fight whistle to whistle and I couldn’t ask for anything more.”