BOYS AND GIRLS SOCCER
The Del Norte boys’ varsity soccer team opened the 2022 season by making a bit of program history, defeating the Fortuna Huskies 3-0 at Del Norte High School. The victory marks the first for the Warriors over the Huskies in the 12-year tenure of head coach David Sanyaolu.
The Warriors controlled the action on both sides of the midfield stripe from the opening kickoff, using an aggressive pressuring style of play and keeping the Huskies from mounting any sort of an offensive attack.
Despite playing most of the opening half on the Huskies’ side of the field, the score remained deadlocked until sophomore Brandt Pennington delivered on a penalty kick at the midway point of the half to give the home team a 1-0 lead. Pennington added a second conversion on a penalty kick later in the half, as the Warriors took a seemingly commanding 2-0 lead into intermission.
Knowing full well the perennial Big Five, and North Coast Section, powerhouse Huskies weren’t going to go away quietly, the Warriors continued to apply pressure on both ends of the field throughout the second 40-minute stanza. Even when the Huskies were able to generate scoring opportunities, they were thwarted by stellar play in goal from senior Leandro Aguilar, who turned away a number of quality looks, particularly in the second half when the Huskies turned up their own intensity level.
“I thought we started a little slowly in the second half,” Sanyaolu admitted.
The Warriors quickly flipped the proverbial switch back on though, as freshman Deken Hanks scored an insurance goal early in the second half, finding the back of the net on a rebound in front of the Huskies goal, and giving the home team a 3-0 lead.
From there, it was a combination of a tenacious Warrior defense and ball control offense that ultimately allowed the home team to notch the victory over a Huskies team that, prior to this season, had owned not just the Warriors, but the Humboldt-Del Norte Conference in general for the better part of the past decade.
The Warriors have precious little time to rest on their laurels though, as they return to action Thursday evening when they play host to the McKinleyville Panthers at Del Norte High School. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.