Fortuna’s Kallia Yang (blue) and Arcata’s Zoe Leonard (white) battle for the ball during Arcata’s 2-0 North Coast Section Division-I semifinal victory, Wednesday night at Fortuna High. (Jose Quezada — For the Times-Standard)
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Karina Zumbrun scored one goal and assisted on the other and the Arcata Tigers shutout Fortuna 2-0 in the semifinal round of the North Coast Section Division-I playoffs, Wednesday night at Fortuna High.

No. 3 Arcata (15-7-1) had fallen to No. 2 Fortuna (14-6-1) four of its previous matches against the Huskies. None of that mattered on Wednesday night as Arcata won where it mattered most and punched a ticket to the NCS D-I championship round where they will face undefeated No. 1 Eureka (18-0) Saturday night, at 7 p.m. at Albee Stadium.

The Tigers dominated the field from the very first whistle with strong passing and clear communication. 20 minutes into the first half Zumbrun dribbled to the outside of the Huskies’ box and attempted a shot to the top right corner of the net. Although the shot did not go in, Fortuna’s goalie was unable to secure the ball and Arcata’s forward, Audrey Shelton, followed up with a soft touch into the bottom right side of the net to give her Tigers a 1-0 lead.

“From where we are to where we started,” Arcata head coach Patrick Stranahan said. “They have just improved so much. They put in the work and they have made themselves better.”

Arcata’s Nina Crossen (white) and Fortuna’s Casandra Cortes (blue #17) go for a header. (Jose Quezada — For the Times-Standard)

Arcata ran back into the second half ready to keep up the same momentum they walked out of the first half with. Early in the second half Arcata gained a corner kick and Zakiya Elloway-Wonenberg seized the opportunity, sending a nicely kicked ball past the Huskies goalkeeper through to Zumbrun who found the back of the net with a nice header that skimmed right over Fortuna’s back line of defenders.

“I think everyone really put in the work,” Zumbrun said. “And we came out with the right mindset tonight.”

Arcata maintained their 2-0 lead until the final whistle and despite drawing four yellow cards during the match, two of which went against Zumbrun, walked away satisfied with its first victory against Fortuna in 2018.

“Arcata brought their A game tonight,” Fortuna head coach Kevin O’Neal said. “They played a good game.”

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