By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
The Del Norte High boys and girls soccer teams took to the field for the first time this season this past weekend.
While no victories were earned, both coaches said the experience that was gained has been invaluable.
The Warrior girls played at the Eye of the Tiger tournament in Arcata on Friday and Saturday.
On Friday and Saturday, the Del Norte boys traveled to the Bay Area for four scrimmage games against Casa Grande and San Rafael.
At the Eye of the Tiger tourney, the Warrior girls lost Friday night 4-0 to McKinleyville. On Saturday, Del Norte was defeated by Analy High 7-0 and lost to Eureka 2-0.
Clar Byers, girls soccer coach for Del Norte, said several girls were unable to attend the tournament due to prior commitments. The team's participation in the event was only recently confirmed.
While the girls did not like to lose, Byers said the games proved to be valuableespecially for the younger girlsto see what it takes to play soccer at the high school level.
"It really opened up their eyes to what competitive high school soccer is," he said.
The more games the team plays, the more they can see what they need to work on and what their abilities are, Byers said.
On Wednesday, the Warriors are tentatively scheduled to play at home against St. Bernard at 5 p.m.
On the boys side, the Warriors had agreed to play some "friendly" scrimmage games in the Bay Area, head coach Gilberto Gil Rodriguez said.
This was a perfect way to test their skills and gain experience against two top North Coast section teams, he said.
Friday was quite a hectic day for the Warriors. After the seven- hour drive, the team checked into their hotel, rested for a few minutes, then left to take on Casa Grande in two games. In both scrimmage matches, the Warriors lost.
The next day, Del Norte took on San Rafael. The first two matches were against a mixture of San Rafael junior varsity and varsity squad players and the second match was against the varsity team.
San Rafael has a reputation as one of the elite teams in the North Coast Section, Gil Rodriguez said.
He said his team had time to relax, have a good breakfast and get ready for the matches, unlike the night before.
This showed on the field.
While they lost both games, Gil Rodriguez was ecstatic about what he saw.
In the first match, Del Norte played tough, but lost the match 3-2.
In the second game, San Rafael took a 3-0 lead a few minutes before the end of the half.
Gil Rodriguez said he told his team to try to score at least one goal.
Del Norte responded and the score was 3-1 at the half.
Then in the second half, Gil Rodriguez said the team started to find its groove and did a great job passing to one another and getting shot attempts.
Before San Rafael knew what hit them, Del Norte had scored three goals to take a 4-3 lead. In the final few minutes, San Rafael was able to come back and win 6-4.
"This shows the kids what they can do and that they can compete against the elite competition," Gil Rodriguez said.
Recently, it appeared that the first game of the season on Wednesday against St. Bernard would be canceled. But, Gil Rodriguez was just told the game is still set to be played. The match will be on Wednesday at 5 p.m. at Del Norte High.