The Del Norte girls soccer team put together a solid all around performance on Wednesday and came out with a 2-1 win over Ferndale that was a little more comfortable than the final score indicates.
Although the Warriors ended up with a one-goal lead, Del Norte controlled possession and the flow of the game for nearly the entire 80 minutes.
“We had good teamwork, communication, possession and defense,” said Del Norte head coach Ashley Herrera. “In our last game we lacked a little bit, but today we were holding our defensive line way up at the half line. We had possession 80 percent of the game. In the second half especially they were really talking well. They were passing the ball, they were getting open, and I thought they were just more motivated.”
It didn’t take long for the Warriors to take a lead over the Wildcats. Del Norte senior Samantha Alanis found the Warriors’ top goal scorer, junior Lanaeya Botelho, with space in the box, and Botelho fired it towards the opposite post and into the side netting for a 1-0 lead.
Although Del Norte wasn’t able to beat the Wildcat keeper again in the first half, the Warriors continued to maintain pressure on the Ferndale defense and created lots of scoring opportunities.
Shortly after halftime in the 48th minute the Warriors managed to use some quick passing to add onto their lead.
Melanie Alvarado found Maykala Jackson in the right side of the 18-yard box, and Jackson promptly sent a cross pass over to Botelho. Botelho then put a hard shot past the keeper for a 2-0 lead.
“She is an outstanding player,” Herrera said of Botelho. “She is so calm when she gets up there and bends it like Beckham. She really finds open spots, makes good cuts and shoots well. She is a really committed and active player.”
Del Norte continued to dominate possession after scoring in the second half, but Ferndale managed to get a golden goal scoring opportunity in the 61st minute when the Warriors were whistled for a hand ball in the box in one of the Wildcats’ few passes into Del Norte’s 18-yard box.
Ferndale managed to convert on the ensuring penalty kick to climb back within a goal at 2-1.
Ferndale’s best opportunity to score in the first half also came via a direct free kick on a penalty called a few yards outside the box in the 19th minute.
Although Herrera thought the Warriors’ defense played well overall, she said they need to clean up some of the penalties.
“We need to work on keeping our hands down,” Herrera said. “I think communicating more on defense would help too, but I think that is always going to be a work in progress.”
Although the Wildcats were within a goal of tying the game for the last 19 minutes, Del Norte never allowed them much of an opportunity to take a shot. Instead it was the Warriors who continued to create scoring opportunities towards the end of the second half.
“We wanted to keep the pressure up, and we wanted to keep the ball on their side,” Herrera said. “That gives us more opportunities to score. Towards the end of the game we moved some of our defensive players up to forward to let them get a feel for that. It was a chance to get to see how it moves up there, and I think they had fun with that.”
With the win, Del Norte improves to 3-6 overall this season, matching the team’s win total from last year. The Warriors will be back in action on Saturday in McKinleyville, kicking off against the Panthers at 11 a.m.
Del Norte lost a close 2-1 contest when McKinleyville came to Crescent City on September 8.
“We are hoping to come out with a win,” Herrera said. “I have seen their potential and I know that they can go out there and win. It is all up to them and how hard they want to work.”
Reach Michael Zogg at firstname.lastname@example.org .