South Fork Girls’ Soccer 2-1 After 3 Games
Sophomore striker Kylie Messenger (left) evades a Ferndale defender before shooting. [Photo by Suzanne Van Meter]
South Fork High School’s Varsity Girls’ Soccer team has won two of their first three games, losing the season opener 4-1 to Willits back on August 30th, beating Ferndale 4-3 in their house last Wednesday and then stomping Tomales 5-1 last Saturday on the road.
The team is hopeful of reaching the North Coast Section post season tournament this year and the early success against other small schools looks promising as the team has outscored its opponents 10-5, getting goals from four different players.
On Saturday the Lady Cubs traveled to Tomales in Marin County and dominated possession from early in the match. About ten minutes into the game junior striker Alyssa Rogers battled to control a loose ball in front of the Tomales net and poked in her second goal of the season.
A few moments later, Rogers fired another shot on goal and it took a deflection off a Tomales defender and into the net for South Fork’s second goal. Sophomore striker Kylie Messenger was next to get on the board for the Lady Cubs, hitting a 25 yard strike from the left side of the goal into the back corner of the net off an assist by senior midfielder Victoria Van Meter. For the fourth goal of the half, Messenger broke through the back line on the dribble to face the Tomales keeper one on one, slotting the ball past her with a strong strike from about 15 yards out.
In the second half, Tomales scored after a miscue in the South Fork defense led to a diving save by senior goalie Alex Tapia. While Tapia was stretched out on the ground, the ball in her grasp, a Tomales player booted the ball out of her hands and into the back of the net.
South Fork added one more goal about 70 minutes into the game when Van Meter crossed the ball to senior Noelia Alatorre who buried it into the back of the net to bring the final score to 5-1.
With two starters missing on the day, Rogers and sophomore Michael Perricone stepped into new roles, Perricone handling the high pressure sweeper position with ease, and Rogers playing striker with urgency and strength.
Also playing well for the Cubs was freshman defender Paloma Avilez, and sophomore winger Sophia Wallace Boyd.
Last Wednesday’s win over Ferndale in Ferndale was a 4-3 barn burner, an end-to-end affair through which South Fork battled twice to come from behind. The Lady Cubs went down 1-0 in the 5th minute of the game when a Ferndale forward broke through the back line and beat Tapia.
Ten minutes later, a mis-hit clearance from a Ferndale defender floated into the home team’s net for an own goal to level the score at 1. South Fork had the lion’s share of possession and when the half-time intermission came, the Lady Cubs felt they had the momentum to win the game.
However, Ferndale scored twice in quick succession just minutes into the 2nd half when the South Fork off-side trap failed and Tapia was again faced with two 1V1 challenges she could not stop.
The Lady Cubs were not going to lie down just yet. Continuing to battle and play their controlled passing game senior winger Nadia Wilke took one of her signature long outside shots, floating the ball over the Wildcat keeper’s hands and into the back of the net to make the score 3-2.
A few moments later Messenger pounded a shot that bounced off the keeper right back to her and she was able to poke the ball into the net on the rebound.
Then with about 10 minutes left in the game, Alatorre settled a cross about 8 yards in front of Ferndale’s net where a defender also awaited. Alatorre’s strength prevailed and she was able to maintain possession and beat the defender, giving herself just enough space to shoot the ball past the keeper for the winning goal.
Van Meter’s tireless play at midfield carried the team throughout the game as she distributed the ball with vision and skill for the offense and took on man-marking Ferndale’s impressive senior midfielder Genevieve Regli, effectively shutting down the Wildcat attack by containing its star player. Also very effective in shutting down the Wildcats was junior stopper Daphne Hobbs, whose strong clearances killed Ferndale’s momentum time after time.To open the season back on August 30, the Lady Cubs fell to Willits 4-1 in Willits.
The Cubs came out a bit flat and the home team took advantage by poking in four goals in the first 15 minutes of the first half. The South Fork players were stunned that the goals were allowed to stand as the defense had perceived Willits attackers to be in offside positions on three of the four scores.
The Lady Cubs kept their heads up and began to play better late in the 1st half and throughout the second half, creating several scoring opportunities.
About 10 minutes into the second half, Willits was not able to clear the ball from its penalty area and Cub junior midfielder Alyssa Rogers found the ball at her feet and floated a high arcing shot over the goalie’s reach and into the back of the net for South Fork’s first and only score of the match.
The Cubs continued to dominate possession for the rest of the game and took a total of 16 shots, but the Willits keeper was not seriously challenged by any of them. Wilke had 5 shots, Messenger had 6, junior Olivia Baffert had 3, Alatorre had one. Senior Raya Mahony played tirelessly at sweeper, and senior goalkeeper Alex Tapia played very well once her defense settled down, racking up 5 saves.
This week the Cubs will host McKinleyville for their home opener on Wednesday at 5 and then will host Eureka at 11 a.m. on Saturday.