The Del Norte girls soccer team put together a strong defensive performance, especially playing into a stiff wind in the first half, but Fortuna eventually managed to break through for a goal in the first half and two more in the second to leave Crescent City with a 3-0 win over the Warriors.
Although it was a loss for Del Norte, head coach Ashley Herrera was impressed with the Warriors’ effort against the second place team in the league.
“The fact that we kept Fortuna down as much as we did was a huge accomplishment,” Herrera said. “Our defense was a big factor in this game. We were able to keep possession for a lot of the game in the first half. They kept the ball on the ground and had some good one touch passes to each other.”
The Warriors started the game with leading scorer Lanaeya Botelho in a new role, playing as a center midfielder rather than a forward. That allowed Botelho to be more active defensively.
“She was perfect in that role,” Herrera said. “She was attacking the ball and communicating with her teammates. As a captain should, she came out and motivated everyone else.”
The Warriors were beaten defensively a couple times in the middle of the first half, and Fortuna had a pair of one-on-one opportunities in the 22nd and 26th minutes, but freshman keeper Alissa Roach came charging out and made saves on hard-hit shots each time.
“She is just a natural athlete,” Herrera said. “As a freshmen, for her to come out and play goalie against this type of teams is huge, and she is only going to get better. Her attack method is a little scary sometimes, but she knows when to come out of the box and when to stay back. She is really good at communicating, and she was great playing against the wind today, which is something that she has never done.”
Fortuna finally broke through for a goal with a one-touch shot on a cross pass in the 32nd minute.
The Huskies doubled their lead in the 55th minute when Del Norte was whistled for a penalty in the box and Fortuna converted on the ensuing penalty kick. Fortuna struck again in the 73rd minute to take a 3-0 lead.
Del Norte had a chance to get a goal back in the 73rd minute with a penalty kick of their own but the kick was blocked by the Huskies goalie.
The game was the last home contest of the season for Del Norte. During halftime of the game, Herrera recognized each of the three seniors on the team this year — Teresita Ulmer-Gensaw, Johanna Cajita and Samantha Alanis. All three of the Warriors’ seniors have played soccer all four years of high school and have had three different head coaches during that time.
“They each draw respect, dignity, humility and bravery,” Herrera said. “They have just put in so much hard work, and they have transitioned to different coaches, different schedules and they have been great working with me. I am so thankful for them.”
Reach Michael Zogg at firstname.lastname@example.org .