Robert Husseman, The Triplicate

Boys win 4th of year over South Fork; girls allow late goal in tie

The message that Del Norte High boys soccer coach David Sanyaolu has attempted to convey to the Warriors may be sinking in: The ball must be moved by 11 players, not one.

"We passed great. We were disciplined," Sanyaolu said following Del Norte's 3-0 home win over South Fork on Wednesday night. "We played well overall."

The Warriors (4-1 overall) played a controlled game, capitalizing on mistakes by the Cubs while coordinating attacks between themselves. South Fork had two shots on goal in the first half; it only picked up its play when the deficit was too great to overcome.

Del Norte struck first in the 24th minute, as senior Juan Chavez capitalized on a shot by teammate Jose Ramirez blocked in front of the goal. It was the second goal of the season for Chavez, a White Star player in 2011 coming back from a dislocated right knee.

Ramirez put the Warriors up 2-0 five minutes later, rocketing a 30-foot strike into the net off a pass from Jesus "Chito" Herrera.

The game's true turning point came in the 43rd minute, after Del Norte goalkeeper Brandon Bloyd knocked a Cubs player down while retrieving a ball. On the ensuing penalty kick, Bloyd dove to his right and stopped the ball, his second of nine saves on the night and his biggest of them all.

"That just motivated the team," Herrera said.

Herrera put the cap on the victory with a 60th-minute goal, assisted by Juan Alvarado.

"The play started from the back," Herrera said. "We did a one-two pass, him to me. I cut the defender, received the pass, and I scored. It was a really simple play."

The Warriors freely admit to some imperfect play over the final 20 minutes - not dictating the action as much as in the previous 60 - but they are brimming with confidence coming into their home contest Saturday against Fortuna. (The Del Norte girls play at 11 a.m.; the boys are scheduled to follow at 1 p.m.)

"It's just the beginning," Herrera said.

Del Norte girls 1, South Fork 1

Outshot 24-9 and struggling to move the ball at times, the Del Norte girls soccer team nevertheless grabbed a 1-0 lead in the 55th minute of play - only to see South Fork tie the game in the 77th minute.

The Cubs were on the attack for virtually the entire first half and attempted multiple shots from point-blank range, many of which were stopped by Warriors goalkeeper Kira Standring (11 saves).

"It was back and forth," Warriors coach Clar Byers said. "You get that lump in your stomach because they're clearly in front of the goal."

Wendy Morales got Del Norte on the board, knocking in a pass from Bina Gonzalez amid defensive confusion by South Fork deep in its own territory.

In the 76th minute, Gonzalez took a shot on goal that bounced off the left post - right to Morales. The senior's shot was swallowed up by Cubs goalkeeper Kathy Petersen.

"If anything, it could've been 2-0," Morales said. "They hustled. They had speed and good passing. We did get kind of lucky. Our communication, we've got to work on (that)."

On the ensuing possession, Warriors defenseman Hannah Pickerill was marking South Fork's Ashleigh Harrison on a through ball when she heard a voice call for offsides. Pickerill stopped running - and Harrison continued on, securing the ball and beating Standring one-on-one for the Cubs' lone goal. The referees never blew their whistle to signal a penalty.

"It really came down to, Hannah stopped because of the offsides yell," Byers said. "(Harrison) went on a breakaway."

The visibly shell-shocked Warriors were unable to get a shot on goal during the final three minutes of play. Not having lost in three straight games - Del Norte won once and tied twice in 2011 - was no kind of moral victory on Wednesday night.

The Warriors' record stands at 2-3-1 overall entering the Fortuna match on Saturday.

Reach Robert Husseman