The McKinleyville soccer team did its part and tested Del Norte well into the 80th minute, driving the ball deep into Warriors territory.
Del Norte senior Austin Paradzinksi takes a shot in the Warriors’ 7-3 victory over Illinois Valley High of Cave Junction on Tuesday. Del Norte Triplicate/Bryant Anderson
In the end, Del Norte held on, and has a 2-0 overall record to show for it.
Jesus “Chito” Herrera and Juan Alvarado each scored first-half goals as the Warriors walked away with their first Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 League win of the season, 2-1, over the Panthers.
“They played a lot better than (in Tuesday’s 7-3 win against Illinois Valley),” Warriors assistant coach Donald Bloyd said. “In the second half (on Tuesday) they were still flat and they were lucky. This time, we played up to our standings.”
Early on, Del Norte put together solid possessions but could not move the ball well in McKinleyville territory. Half of the Panthers’ 12 shots on goal in the first half came in the first 12 minutes.
The Warriors picked up their intensity and promptly hit paydirt in the 22nd minute. Christian Marquez moved the ball to the left of the goal and connected with a streaking Herrera at the left post for a two-touch goal.
“We passed really well (today), really fast,” Herrera said. “It was pass, move, pass, move, and we scored.”
Del Norte junior Hannah Pickerill, right, keeps the ball away from Illinois Valley’s Kimberly Crow on Tuesday. Del Norte Triplicate/Bryant Anderson
Kyle Laney of McKinleyville responded in the 28th minute, tapping in a left crossing shot by Del Norte goalkeeper Brandon Bloyd.
The Warriors quickly shook off the goal and kept penetrating the Panthers defense.
“We fought,” Del Norte head coach David Sanyaolu said. “We launched attacks quickly.”
Like the 35th-minute shot by Ramirez on a through-ball that found its way to the back of the net. The referees did not signal for a goal, however, as an unexplained penalty gave McKinleyville possession.
One minute later, Del Norte drew a foul in the Panthers’ box and Ramirez lined up for the penalty kick. Nothing but net.
In the second half, the Warriors outshot McKinleyville 8-5, spending much of game’s third quarter in Panthers territory. Del Norte had a close call in the 72nd minute when Bloyd left the goal open contesting a ball. The ensuing McKinleyville shot went over the crossbar.
Two other Panthers shots in the final three minutes threatened the lead but did not extinguish it, and a minor celebration broke out upon the final whistle.
“They showed commitment and passion,” Sanyaolu said of the Warriors. “I hope it’s the beginning of good things.”
McKinleyville girls 2
The Panthers scored two first-half goals and held back on defense in the second half to stifle the Warriors in their Big 5 League opener on Wednesday night.
“Overall, I’m really happy with the game,” Del Norte head coach Clar Byers said. “It was pretty evenly matched.”
“It was a very moral victory for us. We definitely held them out (of our side of the field). The goals (McKinleyville) scored, the defense let down. We didn’t keep the pressure on.”
The Panthers outshot Del Norte 10-6, with Warriors goalkeeper Kira Standring coming up with seven saves.
Del Norte boys 7
Jose Ramirez and Quentin Kelly scored two goals apiece as the Warriors defeated the Cougars of the Cave Junction school in their season opener on Tuesday.
Juan Chavez, Carlo Soldaini and Omar Leal each added a goal for Del Norte. Chavez later suffered a knee injury and left the game; it is not known when he will be able to return.
Illinois Valley 3
Warriors junior Christina Levy scored in the 19th minute as Del Norte dropped its season opener to Illinois Valley of Cave Junction on Tuesday.
Amanda Brooks scored two goals for the Cougars, including the go-ahead goal in the 66th minute. Mikaela Cusumano capped the Illinois Valley victory with a goal in the 73rd minute.
Del Norte outshot the Cougars 15-13 in the contest.
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