For the first time in over a decade the Del Norte boys soccer team beat Arcata. The Warriors rebounded after conceding an early goal and pulled out a 2-1 victory over the Tigers thanks to a pair of set-piece goals from senior Alex Carrillo.
“I am speechless because that is the first time that we have beat them in so many years,” Carrillo said. “I am just so happy for the team. I am the first one to do it in my family. I had to experience all four years of them whooping us every year. In my senior year we came out and beat them. It was great.”
According to Maxpreps.com, Del Norte had gone 0-19-3 against Arcata since 2006, and nobody at the field on Wednesday had any idea when was the last time Del Norte actually beat the Tigers.
“It was a coming of age game for us,” said Del Norte head coach David Sanyaolu. “We played well, we competed. We were not awed by the name even though we lost 4-0 in the first game against them. We knew we were better than that result.”
The game started out on a fairly even footing, with both teams creating several chances to score. Del Norte managed to get Arcata’s keeper out of the play in the 10th minute, but a pair of shots by the Warriors were stopped by Tiger defenders.
Arcata quickly cleared the ball and launched straight into a counterattack. The Tigers managed to get the ball behind the Warriors’ defense and beat Del Norte’s keeper one-on-one.
“It was just a lapse in our defense,” Sanyaolu said. “When you are still recovering from missing a very good goal scoring opportunity you are very susceptible to a goal concession. Arcata just countered and scored.”
Del Norte managed to tie the game just a couple minutes before halftime on a direct free kick from well outside the penalty box. Carrillo put a long low shot through the Arcata keeper’s hands and into the net for his first goal of the game.
“I even told him, ‘Don’t shoot the ball. Just play a swinging cross into the box and let people scramble for it,’” Sanyaolu recalled. “He decided to take a shot though. Sometimes you just have to have belief in yourself.”
The score stayed even for most of the second half, but with the Warriors applying pressure on Arcata’s goal late in the game, the Tigers were whistled for a hand ball in the box.
Carrillo took the PK and knocked it into the upper left corner for a 2-1 lead.
“When I shot it and it went in my heart dropped and I was so happy,” Carrillo said. “It was a good feeling.”
Carrillo has been a goal-scoring machine recently. In addition to his two goals on Wednesday, he picked up a hat trick (three goals) over the weekend in McKinleyville.
“That is his sixth goal, and five in the last two games, which is remarkable,”
Sanyaolu said of Carrillo. “I think we have instilled a belief that he can play better than he has been. He was always the first to the ball today.”
With the win Del Norte improves to 5-2 overall this season. They will be back in action on Saturday in Eureka starting at 11 a.m.