Lady Cubs Fall to St. Bernard’s in Close Post-Season Match

Junior Olivia Baffert wins the ball from her St. Bernard's defensder

Junior Olivia Baffert wins the ball from her St. Bernard’s defender [Photo by Susan VanPeter]

South Fork High’s Lady Cubs Soccer team appeared in the North Coast Section Championship tournament for the first time since 2012 and came up just short against Humboldt Del Norte League rival St. Bernard’s losing by a final score of 2-1.

South Fork, seeded 13, took on the 5th-seeded Crusaders last Wednesday in Eureka and it was a tale of two halves.

The Crusaders dominated play throughout the first half, keeping the ball in South Fork’s half and pressing attack after attack onto the Cub defense. About 10 minutes into the game, Crusader senior midfielder McKenna Shoenhofer broke through South Fork’s backline and slotted a shot just past diving South Fork keeper, freshman Paloma Avilez to make the score 1-0. For the rest of the period, South Fork’s compact defense was able to fend off the Crusaders’ attack, depriving them of quality scoring chances, but being unable to generate any offense.

The Cubs regrouped at the intermission and came out with a stronger attack, but just minutes into the second half found themselves down 2 goals when Shoenhofer again penetrated to score after a shot originally blocked by Avilez was deflected to Schoenhofer’s feet for an easy score.

South Fork defends Crusader corner kick. Left to right: Fullbacks Stef Bautistaand Daphne Hobbs and Goalie Paloma Avilez [Photo by Suzanne Van Meter]

South Fork defends Crusader corner kick. Left to right: Fullbacks Stef Bautistaand Daphne Hobbs and Goalie Paloma Avilez [Photo by Suzanne Van Meter]

From that point on, the Cubs kept the ball in the St. Bernard’s half, dominating possession. It was junior striker Olivia Baffert who scored an unassisted goal after collecting a defensive clearance and beating two defenders, giving the Cubs momentum with plenty of time left in the half.

Just moments later, a whistle sounded when the Cubs were playing in the St. Bernard’s penalty box and South Fork began to line up for a PK as all of the players had seen an obvious hand ball violation by a Crusader defender. However, the official had not seen the infraction the same way, and instead gave the home side a free kick.

South Fork continued to press, with Baffert, senior midfielder Victoria Van Meter, and sophomore striker Kylie Messenger combining to shoot a total of 8 times, but the Crusader keeper played well, making several good saves to deny the Lady Cubs.

Junior midfielder Sophia Wallace Boyd will be one of 8 returners to next year's squad [Photo by Suzanne Van Meter]

Junior midfielder Sophia Wallace Boyd will be one of 8 returners to next year’s squad [Photo by Suzanne Van Meter]

The Cubs wrap up a good season with a 6-14-1 record. Season stats show a stronger offense than the team has had in many years. Baffert and Messenger share top goal scorer status with 8 goals apiece; Baffert also had 4 assists and Messenger had two. Senior midfielder Noelia Alatorre had 5 goals and 1 assist, junior midfielder and striker Alyssa Rogers had 5 goals and 3 assists; Van Meter had 1 goal and 6 assists. Senior Midfielder Nadia Wilke had 2 goals and 3 assists, senior defender Raya Mahony had 2 goals. Avilez and junior defender Stef Bautista each had and assist.

The Cubs will be losing 5 players to graduation and will have at least 8 seasoned returners to next year’s squad. They are hoping to recruit enough new players to keep the 24-year-old program viable into the future.

St. Bernard’s lost in the next round of tournament play to Middletown 2-1 on Saturday.

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